The first step in survival training is knowing where you are at all times. This is why our training as Ranger Knights in Damanhur starts with learning how to read a map and compass. When you know where you are and what the terrain affords you, it’s easy to create a strategy plan for where you want to get to.
I’m slowly falling in love with my various maps and trusty compass. At first, they were unintelligible scribbles and numbers. I feared that if I were to be sent out with only these as my navigation, I would quickly find myself lost with the wild boar.
With perseverance and practice—and a great teacher!—the many signs and colors revealed a language perfectly attuned to the natural landscape. These tools don’t tell you where to go, they provide insight into the opportunities afforded to you. Consciously choosing the best path requires you to become locally attuned, as well.
Last weekend, we were ready to test out our schooling in the great outdoors. The goal: Find our point of departure on the map and use the compass to orient oursleves to specific points of interest, calculating the distance and direction. Once we knew where we were, we had to agree on the best path home using only the map as a reference. With a plan in hand, we would hike back on said path, updating our plan based on the physical conditions.
The first time I looked at my compass and actually understood what I was reading, I could actively feel a low-level fear dissolving.
I wouldn’t call myself a great outdoorsperson. I’m more of a city girl, myself. Since I started learning survival skills, every time I am given coordinates and an azimuth and can find my way both on the map and in the surrounding landscape, I feel primal fears evolve into confident mastery.
When we reached our final destination, I felt as if fears that had been haunting me most of my life—some that I didn’t even know where uncontrollably driving my actions—were gone for good.
WHAT A FEELING OF FREEDOM!
Bye-Bye Imposter Syndrome… Hello Strategy Plan!
Days later, I still feel the effects. My actions are lighter, my ability to comprehend and listen amplified, and I more easily assimilate new input, which translates to quicker, more precise actions. Confidence to act comes naturally when fear is no longer interfering in every thought.
Putting this energy to good use, I decided it was time to update my yearly Personal and Professional Strategy Plan. Every season, I take time to reflect on the strategy chosen at the beginning of the year, incorporating updates based on carefully placed feedback loops. With Spring in the air (in my hemisphere) and my enhanced fearless orientation, it’s the perfect moment to stop and smell the budding flowers.
Five Questions to Reflect On:
- What have I accomplished so far? It’s super important to celebrate everything you’ve done so far. Without the celebration, it starts to feel like work, and who wants that to happen?! 🙂
- What didn’t work or created unexpected results? We can learn so much from the unanticipated. Remember that famous quote, “There is no failure. You either win or learn.”
- Who am I and where am I now? As natural beings, we have the same goal as all other species: TO EVOLVE. So now that you’ve carefully looked at the past season, what’s different about you?
- Who do I want to be or where do I want to go next? Rather than making assumptions, it’s better to check-in with yourself to see if values and goals have changed since the last time you reflected.
- Looking at the current strategy plan, are these still the right steps to get there? If not, what corrections do I want to make based on my reflections?
Looking over my strategy has been enlightening, to say the least. My team has accomplished so much in the last four months. Personally, I’ve had a massive shift in certain values, which in turn is rippling through my goals. This meant a major recalibration of some choices I made just a few months ago. And you know what… I feel so much better. I’ve reached a new level of alignment which is producing better results with much less effort. W00t W00t!
The first week of May starts the beginning of my birthday month, and we have some big announcements planned for our growing community. I am so excited, I’m practically giddy… more ways to reconnect and reawaken!!
So you see, a Strategy Plan is like the map you use on your hikes and the compass is what you learn about yourself and your community to orient you. Together, they help you chart the path to your goals.
But you can’t rely on them alone. Once you step into the natural environment, you have to observe the terrain and be open to making changes based on real-world feedback. A change does not mean you made a mistake. On the contrary, it means that your mastery enables you to flow in harmony with the landscape.
The more confident I am about my map reading skills and nature connection, the easier it is to navigate using both learned knowledge and embodied wisdom. It is the combination of both that keeps us open and flexible in order to easily adapt to changing conditions.
Ah nature… you constantly teach me about myself and support me in my continual evolution!
Next up: two days of survival training in the woods. What other transformations will unfold?!
I hope you take the time this season to reflect on who you are today and where you want to go next. Let us know in the comments what comes up for you!