Last week I spent five days in the woods, hunting in Kansas with my Dad. What an amazing time to reflect. Regardless of how you feel about hunting, there is nothing like being in nature for days at a time without any distractions and limited cell phone service. Yeah, sure, sometimes it can get a little boring (and I had about 37 business ideas that I had no one to email about), but it’s that ability to have the emotional fitness to unplug and just be that matters.
And it doesn’t get any more primal, more basic, or more simple than hunting. Humans have been hunting for more that 2 million years! When you hunt, you wake up, eat, and sit (and sit and sit) and wait for an animal to cross your path. You are singularly focused and it’s freeing. Your only job is to watch for deer and listen to the sounds of nature in the woods. The draw to hunting for many people is that simplicity. The saying “get back to nature” means just that, going back to a more simple way of living (even if it’s just temporary). In this world that we live in today, our minds need a break from constant stimulation from our phones, Netflix, emails, social media, etc. And no one feels it more than entrepreneurs and business owners. Seventy-five percent of the people at the outfitting company I was at last week were business owners; they were looking for that simplicity, a break from their fast-paced routine where there are constant demands on their time and energy.
When we’re at camp, we’re at camp. When we’re working on our business, we’re 100% focused there. It doesn’t help our family life or our business life if we are only half in. The very wise Ron Swanson (Parks & Recreation) really sums it up, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” Or, in the words of Gary Keller, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.” They’re right on. When your attention and energy is divided, how effective and efficient are you really being?
Now that I’m training for the Ironman, my focus is 100% there, which means I don’t have the desire to snowboard. For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t even buy a pass to the mountain. Not because I don’t love snowboarding, but because I am completely focused on the task at hand and have made the Ironman my priority. I chose to keep it simple and eliminate distractions, which ultimately reinforces my focus and gives me even more clarity to say no to other things. The problem is that the majority of us say yes to whatever invitation or opportunity comes our way because we are not clear on who we are or where our life and career are going. It can actually cause a lot of stress and anxiety always trying to do more, keep up, and show up to things that aren’t necessarily in line with your long-term goals. So STOP! Bring it back to the basics. Evaluate what you want and then say no to everything else.
The Ironman is such a great example of this. Over the course of your year-long training you complete a histogram showing how much time you trained each week, your recovery weeks, and your completely insane training weeks. You see where you are going and the results show up. I’ve lost 12 lbs and am in better shape after two months of training that I have been in my entire life. When you put yourself into an environment of intense focus and clarity, amazing results will happen. What if you applied this same concept to the time you spend with your family or making your next hire in order to grow your business? What would your relationships look like? What would your business look like? How much would your life change?
The most successful people are those who are able to say no to everything coming at them and only say yes to those things that align with their goals. In fact, they purposefully eliminate any distractions (shiny marketing ideas, dinner invitations, new business ventures) that don’t support their vision and goals for the future.
How often are you saying no? How can you implement the idea of “getting back to nature” in your life? Scale back to a more simple, singular focus, and watch your life grow exponentially.