FEELING CAGED? Access the power of nature!

Rosie Tomkins explains how and why looking to nature and our animal intelligence can help recruiters get through lockdown.

The unwanted shunt of nature that we are currently experiencing has caused heartbreak and isolation to many. The energy we feel right now is sadness, uncertainty and lack of control. As recruiters used to a high-pressure environment, you may find that lockdown with your families does not replace the energy of your work colleagues. You may be feeling caged.

How do we find some uplift for the journey ahead?

We have to look to nature and use the power of Natural Intelligence (NQ). NQ is the positive use of your instincts, insights and perception. It requires you to be open to the senses, picking up invaluable information, by watching, listening, spotting patterns, noticing energetic transfer and recognising boundaries – exactly like an animal in the wild. This translates into a dynamic combination of self-awareness, multiple intelligences and highly developed interpersonal skills.

Here are my five tips to help you access the power of your natural intelligence.

1. Look up from your screens, look through the window and consider how nature endures great hardship. 

Animals in the wild wake up every day to face far more daunting challenges than we do. Thanks to the legendary television programmes and films from David Attenborough and other wildlife experts, we can see the tremendous courage of animals defending their territory, their food and their younger mates from what seems like a certain death. 

We see animals adapting to new circumstances and surviving despite severe famine, environmental disaster, drought, bushfire, Tsunami, loss of habitat, migration and man’s destruction.

Use these stories to inspire you, to help you feel motivated to tackle the current crisis head-on and thrive through it – not just survive. 

2. Let yourself slow to a new level of productivity. 

Many of us may be working night and day and risk burnout. Your health, creativity and well-being are at stake. Animals in the wild don’t to do this. They conserve energy; animals are experts at expanding or conserving energy as needed. Healthy animals rest more than they hunt; they know how to moderate their outputs and ensure something is left in the tank, should it be needed. 

For example, a cheetah, after an unsuccessful hunt, does not leave herself open to attack by depleting all her reserves, she makes sure there is enough fuel to get to a safe place where she can recover. She has mastered the art of multilevel recovery; sprint-break-sprint-break. 

Take inspiration from the cheetah and work hard for a period, then give yourself a proper rest. When you rest, focus on resting. Don’t burn yourself out by trying to work all the time – your productivity will drop, and your chance of burning out will dramatically increase. 

3. It is not the time to fight reality. Take your foot off the pedal and take one issue at a time; aim for depth, not breadth, right now! 

Perhaps, the most important thing we need right now is courage. If you feel you need more courage, then make that your focus. It is relatively easy to lead in good times when your recruitment business is buoyant. However, it takes a certain kind of leader to deal with crisis and turbulence. Those people who are dealing daily with life and death situations at the moment have to dig very deep to stay focused; this takes tremendous courage. What examples of courage in nature might inspire you? 

Personally, I identify with the following:

Hummingbirds build a nest in the same trees where hawks are nesting, confident that they can evade capture by their flying prowess. They know lesser predators will not risk coming close to nesting hawks. A dangerous, but courageous, strategy.

How does the lobster grow bigger when its shell is so hard? The only way to let the lobster grow, is for it to shed its shell at regular intervals. The lobster first looks for a reasonably safe spot to rest, while the hard shell comes off and the pink membrane inside forms the basis of the new shell. During the shedding process it is vulnerable. It can get tossed against the coral reef or eaten by fish. The lobster has to risk its life to grow.

What is extraordinary about animals is that they never doubt their personal power, not for a moment. Look at them closely, see what comes back at you – and be prepared to be blown away.

4. Acknowledge the current emotional landscape, and your own. 

You will be stressed, possibly in ways you may not realise, and a stressed animal doesn’t always help itself. For example, have you ever seen a stressed sheep running into a wire fence and getting stuck? Even though the wire may be cutting deep, the distressed animal struggles with its rescuers. Logic, patience and calmness all disappear at this time and what should be a relatively easy release becomes a battle of wills serving nobody.

Never forget we are animals. We can end up entangled in the metaphorical barbed wire, and we can panic so much we simply can’t extract ourselves, even if we’re offered a helping hand. So, take a breath, learn to manage yourself, stop and think, pause, take another breath and stay balanced.

5. Become an expert in energy management. 

Nature is the expert in managing energy. For most animals being aware of energy is the difference between life and death. What can we learn from nature? What anchor can this give us? 

Biologically we are balls of vibrating energy and it is important to understand how to increase, preserve, nurture and protect this valuable asset – especially at this time. We need to be aware of our own personal energy and how this impacts the world around us. By understanding how to manage your energy you can impact your life, both in your recruitment work and elsewhere, in many ways. 

The best way to become more aware of this is to observe nature; it is just as important to know how to stop as it is to know how to go. While we acknowledge how powerful the use of high energy can be, we must also recognise there are times when it is vital to use slow energy – to stop, reflect and regenerate our minds and bodies. We live in an always-on society, with the constant noise of information in our work and private lives. Covid-19 gives us a chance to stop, contemplate and engage with our energy in a different way.

Think about your natural energetic state; are you a fast person, always moving? Or are you slower, finding it difficult to do anything at speed? Recognise which you are, and then consider how you can shift your energy along the spectrum a little. Maybe you need to slow down a little and nurture yourself, or perhaps you need a small nudge to use your energy to make a change. Imagine the animal that will inspire you to move in the right direction. 

Recruiters work in a full-on environment. By looking to nature, you can tap into your NQ to help navigate the challenging waters we find ourselves in today. Nature knows how to survive. We can learn to take notice of her lessons. 

• Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of N-stinctive, an inspirational book that introduces better ways to lead and deliver a competitive edge in today’s fast-moving, increasingly disconnected and uncertain world. 

• Let us know what you think by emailing us at [email protected] or tweet us to tell us your thoughts or share this story with a friend.

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