The Rockies are a breath-taking example of the power of nature - it’s possible to literally move mountains when all the elements are combined in the right way. Formed by tectonic activity, and then shaped by climate and glacial activity, we can see clearly how the interaction of Fire, Water, Earth and Air has created the distinct geology that gives the mountains their dramatic beauty. When the elements interact like this they are at their most powerful. In our lives and workplaces, this power has the potential to create beauty and synergy, or to create chaos and conflict, depending on how we manage them.
TetraMap gives us the awareness and understanding to shape the interplay of the elements as a force for good, and it provides us with a framework for using the 4 elements to improve performance, develop organisational culture, plan activities, evaluate projects, build relationships, promote great teamwork, and improve leadership. It also gives us a framework to review or reflect on just about anything, so here are my reflections on my trip, using the 4 elemental perspectives:
My high Earth means that I’m very clear about my goals and purpose and very focused on getting things done. The key purpose of my trip to Colorado was to help the US team from Inside Asia Tours to communicate and collaborate more effectively, by delivering 2 days of training based around TetraMap. This was a great success – not only did I really enjoy working with this lovely group of very switched on people, but I’m confident that the way they all work together and communicate with each other has been significantly improved as a result of their whole-hearted engagement in the training. I also set myself the goals of:
- Meeting and forming a connection with at least one training-related person (resulting in a productive and enjoyable meeting with Michelle Cummings from Training Wheels about how we can collaborate)
- Spending quality time with my “American mom and dad” (not really my parents but I lived with them for a year in Illinois 35 years ago and they are still very important to me)
- Enjoying the wide open spaces, stunning scenery, and remarkable wildlife that Colorado has to offer.
Air: Systems, Planning, Process, Detail
Air is my lowest element, but since this was my first time travelling overseas to work, I knew I had to use my Air to plan well and pay attention to the details if it was to be both a stress-free and successful experience. Close liaison with the client about training objectives and practical arrangements, careful planning of my travel itinerary, organising for materials to be delivered to the venue in advance, and a review of my usual training kit, cutting it down to the basic necessities whilst still making an impact, all helped to ensure that everything ran like clockwork.
Although I had to push my Air up in the run up to the trip to make sure everything ran smoothly, as soon as I finished delivering the training, I was ready to let my Air drop again and to be spontaneous and unplanned! This is why I found myself picking up a hire car to drive into the mountains and then realising that I had no idea where I was going or how to get there, but it’s this excitement of the unknown and the possibilities that this opens up that made the trip so special for me (see Fire – below).
Water: Relationships, People, Emotions, Support
The people I met and spent time with made my trip really special. The whole team at Inside Asia Tours were amazing – warm, welcoming, open and positive, and the close communication and collaboration with Halley and Mat, my key contacts, beforehand really helped to ensure that I knew what to expect and what was needed so that the training was successful.
My Air BnB hosts, Beth and Don, were charming, caring, and full of useful information about where to go and what to do to make the most of my time in Boulder. We enjoyed getting to know each other and I learnt a lot from them about the local community.
Michelle from Training Wheels is someone who I’ve followed online for some years and used some of her ideas and products, so it was great to reach out across the Atlantic, meet her in person, and explore how we can collaborate to bring her over to the UK to run workshops in the future.
Finally – I had lots of quality time with Debbie and Bill, my American Mom and Dad. I lived with them for a year when I was 17-18 years old and they’re an important part of my life, although I rarely see them so spending quality time together to reconnect at a deeper level was wonderful.
Fire: Inspiration, Creativity, Fun, Energy
Fire is my highest element and its fair to say that I was “in my element” on this trip, with so many things to inspire, excite, and challenge me. Spending time with new people always triggers new perspectives and insights and being on an adventure gives me energy and enthusiasm. Nature is always my biggest source of inspiration, so spending time in a different landscape, with different sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures, different wildlife, and lots of time for walking, which is when I do my best creative thinking, got me buzzing with ideas and opportunities including:
- New ideas about how I can incorporate nature into my training
- New nature-based metaphors to use in leadership, communication, and team development training
- New training activities to try out
- A vision for where I’d like to take my business in the future and how I can promote the concept of learning in, with and from nature
- Ideas about how to promote the next TetraMap Facilitator Certification course which I’ll be running on 3rd & 4th October
I returned from my trip feeling positive, fulfilled, and excited for the future, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make it so enjoyable and successful. I felt really able to connect with the four elements of nature during the trip and I can’t wait to return in the not too distant future.
Find out more about how TetraMap® can help people to understand themselves and others better in order to improve communication, collaboration, team work and leadership, or about how it works brilliantly by using the four elements of nature as a framework to look at issues, problems, experiences, projects, and organisations in a holistic, comprehensive way here.
Find out how you can become a Certified TetraMap Facilitator here.
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