27 May Guest Blog: Stefanie Dumont
Confidence Through Nature
Guest Blog by Stefanie Dumont
What is it about nature that brings out the best in us? Hiking, for example, gives us instant perspective — we’re able to see things clearly that have been muddy for weeks, we find solutions to complicated dilemmas, we’re able to understand things from other points of view. We feel victorious after conquering a mountain, but where does that courage come from? What is it about challenging territory that makes us suddenly feel heroic? And most importantly, how do we apply those feelings to other aspects of our lives?
Observing a majestic landscape takes us to an immediate state of awe. We become mesmerized, unable to blink or look away. We breathe deeper, exhale more fully. Suddenly we become small, life shrinks, concerns evaporate, and cares disintegrate right before our eyes. We are instantly engaged, focused on the terrain in front of us, completely absorbed by the depth of the trail surrounding us. What happens to us in nature is nothing less than a transformational masterpiece. What is it about nature that gives us confidence and brings out the best in us?
Our family recently returned from a long holiday weekend playing in Southern Utah; the red sand majestic mountains embracing us like a dear friend, and the cathedral of Zion surrounding us like an extraordinary painting. Being encircled by such extreme beauty led us internally to a place of awe, wonder, and peace. During one of our hikes, a family member and I greeted the opportunity to overcome an obstacle of fear. We stood at the edge of the cliff, a thousand feet above mountain terrain, and looked straight down to the depths of the valley below. Some visitors, new to hiking, kept their distance, uneasy about going up to the edge. This was good practice for me. In the past, I would have been frightened. I was not a hiker until I became an adult. My mother was afraid of the wilderness and I did not come from a hiking family. I looked at this time as a unique opportunity to become better than I was before. I spoke kindly to any negative thought that came up, assuring myself I was safe, and that this was a place of learning and adventure that few people ever experience in their lifetime.
Whenever an uneasy thought came up, I met it with compassion, confidence, and reassurance. I was reprogramming my fear of heights. The fear of falling is said to be a human being’s only truly innate fear. Since my goal is to become a better hiker, I have chosen to overcome any fears that have been passed down from previous generations.
Hiking gives us a sense of strength and determination that is unmatched by other sports, as it truly is a feast for all the senses. Hiking can boost confidence in a strategic way, as it’s often taught at camps and corporate retreats, as employees and students challenge themselves past fears on varied ropes courses. I have discovered that overcoming obstacles in nature makes you a better team member, a better student, a better executive, a better spouse, and in general a better person. Having chosen to challenge myself with a seasonal ropes course in nature, I look at these outings as opportunities to become stronger and more confident; not only physically, but mentally.
Overcoming obstacles in nature helps us become our best selves, teaching us essential skills such as: confidence, patience, strength, trust, mind over matter, unplugging, connection, collaboration, introspection, achievement, and humility. Practicing these traits makes us better at what we do and how we live. Confidence through nature is the art of taking all the learning from a hiking excursion and applying it to daily life. This is a tremendous way for us to grow. Without overcoming obstacles, we are slow, stagnant, and frequently stuck. Having strong visual images you can refer to and feelings of accomplishment from actual achievement can guide you steadily around things that get in your way, and propel you forward confidently in the direction of manifesting your dreams.
Going For It
What are some ways that you overcome obstacles in your life, moving you closer to your Best Self? Have you ever gained confidence through nature? If not, grab some good hiking shoes, a backpack, protein bars, water, fresh fruit, sunscreen and a trail map; check your camera phone for a panorama option…and head for the hills. Your confidence may just depend on it!
Stefanie Dumont is a TLC Facilitator, Empowerment Expert, and Co-Founder of Conscious and Carefree