Leadership Lessons From Nature

The late renowned Canadian artist and my good friend, Murray Phillips, used to spend a third of his time living in the woods and painting nature. He once said, “there are no straight lines in nature.”

Nature is perfect in its imperfection. It does not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. Its acceptance is total and complete.

We can learn a lot about ourselves when we take the time to commune with nature and witness the intelligence within every living thing.

When I sit silently and watch a sunset, or listen to the sound of the ocean or a stream, or hang out with the horses – when I take the time to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n to the speed of life, I recognize beauty everywhere and find myself surrounded by pure potentiality and unbounded creativity.

Murray gifted me a sketch pad and artist’s pen, and encouraged me to take time to draw something every day. Like a journal, I never show anyone my drawings. “Artists don’t necessarily produce ‘art.’ Murray used to say. Being an artist is, instead, the way you see the world. Being an artist is about having the eyes to see things more clearly. Artistic living means seeing life more slowly. It means seeing beyond the obvious.”

Leadership starts with connecting with ourselves. Appreciating our humanity and imperfection. Letting go of the expectation of straight lines, formulas and flavors of the month management fads. People want from their leaders what they want from themselves – to be real.