Looking to Nature as an Outdoor Professional

 In Nature Connection

The second post in the Looking to Nature series

The dynamic process of looking to nature

What occurs during the dynamic process of looking to nature is extremely important when you are working with clients outdoors. As therapists, coaches, or guides we are always looking to nature to help create awareness in our clients, something we talked about in Developing Awareness, our first post in this series. Opening the doorway for our clients is a powerful reminder that they have everything they need to answer their own questions and reach the goals they set for themselves..

Understanding the natural processes

Looking to nature also means understanding the natural processes that are involved with personal growth and change, so as a guide, you can collaborate with and rely upon them. It’s good to remember that we are nature! Everything about us is part of nature. Understanding what naturally happens internally as someone looks to nature can effectively support the change process.

From a professional standpoint, it’s important to explore the research on nature, human development, change theory, psychology, neuroscience, and the human-nature relationship to provide ideas as to how we might support a client as well as validate or clarify our assumptions. We intend to cover some of that research in future posts.  

Let the brain do its job

Knowing how the brain naturally navigates what seems to be an irreconcilable conflict can allow us, as guides, to step back and let the brain do its job. Our purpose is  simply to help our client identify the issue clearly and set the intention to look to nature. After that, all we need do is get out of the way.

Visual representations

Looking to nature from a professional guide standpoint also means looking for visual representations and stories from the land that metaphorically illustrate what our clients are working on and the questions they hold.


It can also mean listening for nature in our clients’ stories. When metaphors are revealed in the moment and not contrived, they can have a powerful effect  on the mind that is always searching for understanding. Seeking metaphor is a natural process the brain instigates to integrate experiences. As guides, we learn to trust the representations exist, and we observe and invite our clients to investigate what we see as possibilities.

Representation can be as simple as looking at a stone or tree and asking our client how similar it is to his or her issues. Or much more dramatic, such as questioning how our client’s desire to give up when faced with a challenging part of a hike is similar to how they want to give up on attaining their goals. Simple or not, looking to nature in these ways stops the mind in its tracks, creating profound awareness and heartfelt understanding.


Biomimicry is an interesting field of inquiry that has come to the forefront in recent years. In a nutshell, biomimicry means looking to nature for inspired solutions to problems: how does nature solve or overcome a similar challenge. There are many wonderful examples of biomimicry. Take Velcro, for example. Velcro was inspired by the way burrs stick to shoelaces and clothes when you walk through a field. While Biomimicry is more literal than metaphorical, it is a good example of what I am trying to convey here.  

Nature as teacher and guide

When you look outside, you see rivers finding their way to the ocean, trees spiraling towards the sun, animals following their instinct to live in balance with their environment: all things seem to be living out some purpose that is driven by something deep, cellular, and mysterious.

We are no different and thus are not alone on this journey. Nature can be one of our greatest teachers and guides. Someone or something has reached a point in life similar to the one we are striving to attain. Someone or something has overcome a challenge similar to the one we are facing currently.

The more I get into this work, the more it seems that Nature is actively participating, as if in some mysterious way it wants my clients to succeed in living out their purpose.

Are you willing to ask?  Are you willing to look for and listen to what Nature reveals?  While it requires an intentional shift of attention, your increased well-being is well worth the effort.

Two courses of interest

One way to effect shift your attention is to sign up for our Get started with Nature Connection course. The course encompasses five learning modules, each offering a different tool to practice that is easy to follow and apply. The combination of these tools will get you started on the path to nature connection. The course is interactive and provides access to other participants and EBI instructors.

Perhaps you are ready to go further and explore our year-long professional training. In that case, why not register for our Applying Nature Connection to your Life and Career live training intro. You’ll learn about core concepts and skills of Nature-Connected Coaching℠, get direct instruction with these skills, and will start applying the concepts to your life and work right away. We’ll refund your $250 tuition if you decide to register for the full certification program. The next intro course starts June 14th so act quickly.


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