- Do you want to learn how to improve your performance, well-being, and leadership by spending more time outdoors? If so, you might be interested in the new book by Bart Foster, Business Outside: Discover Your Path Forward.
- To learn more about the book and how it can help you achieve your personal and professional goals, read the book summary and review below. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the secrets and benefits of BusinessOutside!
While many corporate leaders appear to lead happy and successful lives, many aren’t living intentionally, says Bart Foster. Stop viewing yourself as a person to whom life happens, he urges; you have the agency to create your own life. Foster offers science-inspired tools that can help you identify and address limiting beliefs and patterns so you can build the life of your dreams. Foster’s BusinessOutside approach encourages you to work “outside” – literally and metaphorically – by moving corporate work into the natural world and outside outdated corporate and social norms.
- Transform your corporate culture, eschewing dated norms and taking business outdoors.
- Be honest, empathetic and vulnerable with others to forge deeper connections.
- Align passion and talent, identifying your “zone of genius” to find career fulfillment.
- Clarify your values and let them guide your decision-making.
- Live to your full potential by managing the four forms of personal energy.
- Shift your mind-set to overcome discomfort-avoidance and fear of failure.
- Minimize regret by managing your time with accountability and intention.
- Boldly align your current actions with your desired future reality.
Transform your corporate culture, eschewing dated norms and taking business outdoors.
Your body isn’t designed to spend most of the day sitting inside in front of a screen, yet corporate culture has normalized solitary computer work. While the COVID-19 pandemic provided many knowledge workers with some autonomy to manage their workday independently and, thus, work more productively, it also led to prolonged screen times and increased social isolation. To counter these issues and reclaim your work life, embrace BusinessOutside. This new concept encourages you to spend more of your workday in nature, nurturing authentic connections and disrupting the corporate norms preventing you from embracing your full career potential.
“Too many of us are stuck ‘inside’ – inside our video calls, inside our corporate hierarchy, inside our self-imposed limitations about what’s possible, and inside unrealized potential.”
You can start switching to a BusinessOutside approach by doing any of the following:
- Book outdoor space – Just as you’d book a meeting room, “book” a spot in nature (for example, a park picnic table).
- Normalize walking meetings – Team members can walk and talk together outside or separately, communicating via smartphones or even walkie-talkies.
- Schedule “check-outs” – Just as you make time for check-ins, schedule weekly check-outs: inviting people to spend time outdoors during the workday. This dedicated time will inspire deeper conversations while giving people something enjoyable to anticipate.
- Brainstorm outside – Stanford University research shows that walking outdoors enhances creative thinking, so move your idea-generating sessions outside.
- “Fresh-Air Fridays” – Consider following retail company L.L. Bean’s lead and inviting workers to enjoy a catered lunch outside once a week.
- Rehearse presentations outdoors – Practicing your presentations in nature will help you remember your talking points, more so than when rehearsing presentations indoors.
Be honest, empathetic and vulnerable with others to forge deeper connections.
Often, networking is superficial, with people focused primarily on what they can get from others. BusinessOutside encourages you to reframe networking by building deep, authentic relationships with others through meaningful conversation. Consider asking others how you can be of service to them. Think about what you can do for your connections rather than what you can get out of the relationship. People will likely treat you how you’ve treated them, so create reciprocal relationships. Make a real effort to remember names and details about those you meet. Tell engaging stories, but also ask people open-ended questions about themselves, like, “What brings you joy?” When you’re empathetic and vulnerable with others, they’ll be more likely to share information about themselves, deepening your connection.
“Embracing vulnerability will have profound impacts on your personal and professional lives. And it can inspire a new, more open, authentic and healthy culture in your business.”
Building genuine relationships will, from time to time, require clearing up misunderstandings and issues. Think of this as relationship maintenance. Use the “clearing model” framework for open, honest discussions when facing confusing or potentially harmful dynamics. Start by stating the facts and identifying your perception of them. Take accountability for your behavior or lack of action, acknowledging your role in creating the situation. Finally, clearly state what you hope to achieve by having the conversation. Give the other person room to share thoughts and feelings, accepting that you may need to discuss the issue a few times before you reach an outcome with which you’re both satisfied.
Align passion and talent, identifying your “zone of genius” to find career fulfillment.
Discover your “zone of genius”: the career-related activities where you excel and which you enjoy. Your zone of genius is an area of your life where talent and passion overlap, and you’re uniquely positioned to serve others. Reflect on what you love the most about your job, volunteer work, hobbies, or domestic or parenting responsibilities. When do you feel you’re at your best? For example, perhaps your zone of genius lies in “inspiring others” and “public speaking.” Writer Dan Sullivan advises you to ask 10 close colleagues and friends to tell you where they believe your strengths and talents lie.
“You have a moral responsibility to do what you do best, because that is your service to the world.”
To discover when you’re misaligned with your zone of genius, consider reflecting on what zaps your energy: the tasks you avoid most and activities that fail to generate feelings of satisfaction and abundance. You have a moral imperative to work in a capacity that leverages your passion and talents, as working within your zone of genius will most enable you to help others. Likewise, you have a moral imperative to support others in aligning with their own zones of genius.
Clarify your values and let them guide your decision-making.
Gaining clarity about your personal values will help steer your decision-making process in useful ways. Consider what values mean to you on a personal level. For example, perhaps they serve as your moral compass. Identify your top five values, then reflect on how often you embrace those values in your personal and professional life. Consider how you could consistently practice your values, aligning them with actions in your zone of genius. Write a personal values statement incorporating your three highest-priority values to help you commit to practicing them. For example, your statement could include, “I will fulfill myself through curiosity, personal growth and lifelong learning.”
“Knowing what you truly value provides direction, inspiration and guidance in the course of your life.”
It can feel easiest to connect with people who have similar values to your own. Yet it’s worth expanding your perspective and challenging your beliefs by connecting with people whose values differ. Remember that people tend to react emotionally and irrationally when others challenge their values. Be respectful toward those with different core values, just as you’d like them to be toward you.
Live to your full potential by managing the four forms of personal energy.
Your energy is your most vital resource. Aspire to live an intentional life – one positioning you to be your best self as much as possible – by aligning what you invest your energy in with your deeper sense of purpose. It’s natural to experience some ebb and flow when it comes to your energy levels, but be mindful of situations in which other people’s demands for your time and energy overtake your capacity.
“Today is full of possibility, and it is up to each of us to fulfill that possibility.”
Every day, you must manage four types of energy:
- Physical energy – Make physical energy recovery part of your daily life by maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and seeking recovery moments – perhaps taking a short break, eating something healthy or hydrating – every 90 to 120 minutes. Consider using digital trackers to keep tabs on important health metrics, such as sleep, and manage your physical energy better. Take time to get outside in nature; doing so boosts energy levels.
- Emotional energy – Work on cultivating positive emotions that fuel your performance, such as gratitude, hope, joy and compassion. Try not to dwell on your negative thoughts and feelings.
- Mental energy – Spending time outdoors, especially if you do so without digital distractions, can help increase your mental energy levels, triggering the flow of ideas. Consider taking up meditation: Slowing your brain wave activity through meditation can give you the calm and focus you need to solve problems.
- Spiritual energy – Spiritual energy refers to alignment and intentionality. Are you investing your energetic resources in activities that align with your values and a greater purpose? Increase spiritual energy levels by focusing more on the here and now. Avoid the “mental and emotional drama of living in the past and future.”
Shift your mind-set to overcome discomfort-avoidance and fear of failure.
List three goals you’d like to achieve in your career and the experiences you’d like to have. If imagining taking action on any of these items makes you nervously excited, that’s a good thing; it means you’re dreaming outside your comfort zone. Take small steps to work toward the goals on your list. To overcome your fear of failure, imagine yourself failing, then envision the worst-case outcome from that failure. It’s probably not as bad as you think – people tend to catastrophize.
“Look at your unique ability, your zone of genius, and your personal values. Then see if you can create something new where you are.”
If you’re stuck doing work that isn’t serving your purpose, change your mind-set toward the situation. For example, instead of just quitting, consider “job crafting.” Look for ways to slightly modify your job role to better align with your zone of genius, which will help you find more career fulfillment.
Minimize regret by managing your time with accountability and intention.
Many people in the corporate world aren’t living their lives intentionally. Many of them show up at work each day, attending the meetings their admin has scheduled, without actually choosing how they want to spend their time. Live your life free from regrets by spending time with people who energize you. Engage in activities that bring you fulfillment. Take control of your time by intentionally making room for life experiences with people you respect and love, while prioritizing tasks within your zone of genius. It can be helpful to create a pie chart, filling it with estimates of how you divide your time. Reflect on whether you like what you see. Next, draw a pie chart of how you’d spend your hours in your ideal life. Consider how you can shift your priorities to bring your time allotments closer to your ideal.
“Being intentional with your time means holding yourself accountable every day for the choices and decisions you make.”
One way to make better decisions toward an intentional life is by using the “hell yes” or “no” framework: If you don’t fully commit to experiences with a “hell yes,” say “no.” The secret of successful people is that they say “no” often, prioritizing their time and energy. Always check in with your gut, paying attention to any options that don’t “sit quite right.” Reflect on whether the choice you’re considering aligns with your values. Gain clarity on your priorities using the following exercise: Ask yourself how you’d live if you had seven years to live. How about seven months or seven days? Perhaps you’d spend more time with your family and less at your desk. How could you readjust your work-life balance to reflect this desire?
Boldly align your current actions with your desired future reality.
Get clear on the shifts that seem impossible to slow down in your work or personal life, then choose between one of three options: You can attempt to slow down the inevitable; you can wait and see how things play out; or you can deliberately “accelerate the inevitable.” Don’t fear the inevitable. In fact, you may want to consider accelerating the changes that will happen in the future. Every industry has inevitabilities, and often, accelerating them can help you get ahead of the competition. For example, Elon Musk saw moving toward electric cars as an inevitability within the automobile industry, so he focused on accelerating the switch away from combustion engines with Tesla.
Think about the “rockets” in your life: These are the tools, assets, people and resources that accelerate and support your growth. Assess your relationships with those with whom you spend the most time. Are they rockets, or do you need to shift dynamics or create boundaries?
“BusinessOutside is all about leaning into the inevitable, and I invite you to come along for the ride. It’s incredibly empowering to help drive the future.”
Take bold, aligned actions to help you bridge your current and future realities. You may need to get additional qualifications or build your network to achieve your desired future. Create rituals that help you work toward living the life you’ve imagined. Take control of your career and life, recrafting your life story. Your current, dated narrative contains the self-limiting beliefs that have held you back and prevented your growth. Your new narrative should align your energy and sense of purpose. What are the consequences of your current mind-set? Ask yourself what you’d need to believe instead to lead a more fulfilled, empowered life.
About the Author
Bart Foster is the founder and CEO of the facilitation and training company BusinessOutside. He started his career as an entrepreneur and global executive at Kellogg’s and Novartis.
Non-fiction, Business, Self-help, Personal development, Leadership, Productivity, Wellness, Nature, Outdoor, Adventure
The book is a guide for business executives who want to improve their performance, well-being, and leadership by spending more time outdoors. The author, Bart Foster, is the founder and CEO of BusinessOutside, a facilitation and training company that helps individuals and teams get outside in nature and outside their comfort zones. The book presents a science-based philosophy that shows how being outdoors can enhance creativity, connection, and restoration. The book covers the following topics:
- The benefits of being outdoors for physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as for productivity, innovation, and collaboration.
- The challenges and barriers that prevent people from spending more time outdoors, such as societal norms, corporate culture, and personal habits.
- The steps and strategies to overcome these obstacles and integrate more outdoor time into daily life and work, such as setting goals, planning ahead, finding opportunities, and creating rituals.
- The tools and techniques to make the most of outdoor experiences, such as mindfulness, journaling, reflection, and feedback.
- The best practices and principles to lead and inspire others to join the BusinessOutside movement, such as modeling, coaching, mentoring, and facilitating.
The book is a practical and inspiring resource for anyone who wants to learn how to leverage the power of nature for personal and professional growth. The author, Bart Foster, is an expert on outdoor leadership and facilitation, and he shares his insights and experience in a clear and engaging way. The book is well-researched and evidence-based, but also personal and relatable. The book offers a wealth of tips, examples, and exercises that can help readers apply the concepts and principles of BusinessOutside to their own life and work. The book is not only informative, but also motivating and empowering. The book shows readers how to break free from the constraints and limitations of indoor environments, and how to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of outdoor environments. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their performance, well-being, and leadership in a natural and authentic way.