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Disengaging for success

Camping and I generally do not mix.

Now that’s not because I can’t sleep on a blow-up mattress, or have an abhorrence to sleeping in a tent. On the contrary, I quite like staring at a starlit sky and nodding off to the sounds of nature.

Like many things in life, to camp comfortably, you need to be equipped…and when it comes to camping, we simply aren’t equipped.

Seize the day
My husband and younger son were recently on cricket tour as the school holiday dawned. My eldest son had had a rough term at high school

and my ‘mommy guilt’ hung heavily as I realised, that a weekend of my work preparation wasn’t going to cut it.

Enter the camping trip; planned and prepared by my best friend and some of her mates and ripe for gate crashing! For once I swallowed my pride. I set my son on a mission to find blow up mattresses and head torches in our toss of a tool shed, and we departed for Dwarsberg on a clear Saturday morning.

The important versus the urgent
Apprehension abounded at how I was still going to manage to prepare some strategy work at a campsite with one power point and certainly no wi-fi. But I quickly realised as I settled myself next to the running stream at camp Trouthaven, that friendships and nature were what was going to restore both my son and me.

Being disengaged was far more important than another working weekend.

My son, even at 14, adapted quickly to stick carving and river stone hopping with the younger children. I took a little longer, but scratch art can generally slow me down and force me to focus on the simplicity of following someone else’s rules – an art template.

My heart rate slowed, my breathing deepened and I felt the chaos dissipate.

Marshall Goldsmith (coaching guru) recently cited employee engagement – the ability to be positive and active at work – as being at an all-time low.

I think there are many factors in our workplaces which contribute to this.

But as I returned from our weekend away, I knew I would reap the rewards of channelling the creativity of the campsite river, and working at a speed enabled by the crisp dawn of waking in a tent.

The drive home
I travelled back to Cape Town thrilled at the spontaneity of having accepted a last minute invitation and at the memory of my son retorting that he never thought he’d be off camping with his mum!

I returned to feed our indignant cats and attend to the work commitments waiting on Monday morning,

but I like to believe that the disengagement brought my clients a more present and creative me.

That my 24 hour sojourn meant a fresh approach to their problems and to my own.

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