“encompasses a sense of appreciation, respect, and awe of nature that can contribute to holistic wellness.”
That’s a definition of eco wellness taken from the Journal of Humanistic Counselling.
Sounds nice enough, perhaps a bit hippy, even.
Our question is, how exactly can eco wellness – having appreciation, respect, and awe for nature – strengthen a business?
Whatever products and services a business develops and brings to market, as we haven’t quite yet arrived in the novocene era, (an excellent book by Professor James Lovelock, by the way), the chances are, there are some human beings involved in that process.
Without human hard-work, problem-solving, insight and imagination, these products and services wouldn’t exist.
When the people working in your business have appreciation, respect and awe for nature, some excellent business outcomes follow.
To appreciate anything, we have to recognise its good qualities and seek to understand it on some level. And to recognise most things, we actually need to look for them.
But when we are stuck on smart technology 24/7, having our attention very effectively harvested by big data driven giants, then the processes of the natural world, and the genius and elegance of those processes pass us by completely.
We can’t see them, let alone appreciate them. And we certainly can’t learn from them.
Nature is a terrific problem solver and prodigious engineer. It’s as if a genius has left notebooks stuffed full of insights and short-cuts lying around for us to pick up and consult, but we can’t see them.
There’s a nice term for taking practical inspiration from nature: ‘biomimicry’. Biomimicry is defined as this:
“The production and design of structures, systems and materials that are modelled on biological entities and processes.”
Put simply, appreciating nature gives us clues about clever ways to improve our products, services and the way we work.
Think about a person you know that you have untold respect for – perhaps an old mentor or associate, maybe a family member or a friend. Someone whose way of being in the world, whose character you sincerely admire.
Really think about them for a moment.
As you are thinking of that person, you might notice that the respect is not actually a thought, it’s more of a heartfelt feeling.
And a feeling of respect for the natural world is evidently in short supply when it comes to us humans. I’m not going to go all Extinction Rebellion on you here, but (nearly) all of us know the score.
Our stewardship of the planet is not looking great right now!
On an individual level, so many of our lives are set up in such a way that we have such little meaningful contact with the natural world, that although we might actively be making small efforts not to disrespect nature (doing the weekly recycling, not pouring hazardous waste into rivers for laughs), we don’t have all that much heartfelt feeling of respect for it either.
We’re too detached to feel it.
When you incorporate eco wellness into your business through staff training and away days, you are creating the felt connection with the natural world that true respect stems from.
When your team and your organisation has got that respect for nature growing within it, you will inevitably become a more environmentally responsible and sustainable business.
You will feel the need to.
You won’t do it out of some dull, box-ticking sense of duty. It will just naturally happen.
And businesses that sincerely give a crap about the health of the natural environment are the only businesses fit for the future.
Whether it is the feeling of being physically gripped by amazement as you watch a thunderstorm flashing across the sky or the goosebumps that a favourite piece of music sends up the back of your neck, awe, like respect, is more of a feeling than a thought.
Awe is closely linked to appreciating beauty and having a strong sense of being connected to a mysterious bigger picture that exceeds the boundaries of our own little personal identity.
Feelings of awe are so abundant when we allow ourselves to come into strong contact with the natural world.
When we experience more awe, our personal insecurities and petty preoccupations loosen their grip on us, and allow more room for creativity, feelings of peace and a sense of wide possibilities that coaxes us away from the mechanistic thinking that stifles innovation.
In other words, more awe in your team puts more awesome into your business outcomes.
Although the link between eco-wellness and business success might not be immediately obvious. It’s certainly a new thing in the learning and development mainstream.
But once you get your head round it, there really are some important ways that strengthening the connection between your team with the natural world will strengthen your business.
Harness the power of eco wellness to strengthen your business, drop us a line today, we’d love to hear from you.