Unless you work in the outdoor industry, many assume that the experiences and lessons they learn while recreating outdoors simply stay there when they go back to work. After all, how often do you use a map and compass while navigating your way through your city?
But the reality is that you can learn some truly valuable skills and lessons while outside. You’ll find that these lessons can be translated to your work and personal life quite easily.
Communication is Key
You watch as your partner scales the limestone cliffs of Hells Canyon, carefully climbing the south face of the Flat Iron on a tricky sport route. Approaching a challenging section, they call down to you to watch them carefully. Suddenly, they lose their grip, and fall. Fortunately, you had heard their call and had taken out the slack in the rope. It was your communication skills that kept your climbing partner from falling further than they needed to.
In the backcountry, adventurers always make communication a priority. It can be climbing or rafting commands, risk assessments, or simply just checking in with one another. In many cases, it’s the heightened stakes that make experienced and amateur outdoor recreators alike communicate more.
It only makes sense that we would bring this level of communication with us into our frontcountry lives. After all, we live in an era of mass communication. It’s more important than ever to communicate clearly and effectively with our friends, family, and co-workers. By outlining things like when you need help, your expectations for a project, or simply how you’re feeling, you’re building better, more trusting relationships.
Take Care of Yourself and Others
In the backcountry, how you interact with your expedition buddies is different. When you’re so far away from the support and resources of the front country, you have to be more aware of each other. This makes things like group care more important than ever. Making sure that everyone has the right equipment for your adventure and is getting enough to eat and drink are critical parts of making sure everyone has fun.
But so is looking out for yourself. If you push yourself too hard, or if you spend all of your energy taking care of others in your group, you might not be able to care for yourself properly. This means that the group has to step in and help.
Self care is group care, and vice versa. Taking care of one will help the other. In our front country lives, i’t easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. When so much is asked of us by so many people and things, it can be easy to forget to slow down and care for ourselves. Similarly, our relationships get lost in these moments. Take time to offer yourself and your groups the energy they need to stay healthy and strong.
Recognize When to Lead and When to Follow
As your raft turns another bend in the Snake River, your raft guide calmly tells you and the other rafters which strokes to do next and when. As your trusted guide, they have the experience needed to get you through the rapids safely. Later, they let you guide the raft through a smoother section.
Throughout the day, we switch between the roles of active leadership and active followership. It’s how we maintain relationships and get our work done. In some areas of your life, you may be a leader because of your experience or knowledge. In others, you might be a follower. Both roles are essential, neither one more important than the other. When you can recognize when it’s time for you to lead and when to follow, you’ll be a more effective team member.
There’s a lot to be learned in a wilderness setting. When you take yourself out of the context of daily living, you open yourself to more opportunities for growth and exploration of self.
If you’re looking for a new experience, why not try a river adventure in Idaho with Killgore Adventures? Led by talented raft guides, we’re excited to share our favorite outdoor activities with you and your family. Check out all of our adventures and then book your own today!