As soon as we were all seated he wrote “I’m a Pinko Commie” on the blackboard. I was in grade 12 and the class was World Issues. I thought, “Who is this teacher? And what is he talking about?”
He explained the political spectrum: conservatives on the right, liberals in the centre, socialists on the left and to the far left was the pinko commie.
He threw a map of Africa onto the projector. “This is Africa,” he said pausing, “After colonization.” Then, on top, he put on another map of Africa but this one had thousands of little pockets drawn on it. “This is a map of all of the different tribal and language groups that existed in Africa before colonization. The map of Africa we’re used to is full of almost arbitrary lines that were drawn and fought for by European powers at the time.” He explained the scramble for Africa. In 1884 only 10% of the continent was colonized by Europeans, by 1914, 90% was colonized.
I was shocked. The countries I knew on the map of Africa were essentially lines drawn a map that Europeans fought for and then withdrew from in less than a 100 year period? This was how the world was created?
In the following classes we learned about child soldiers fighting in wars, famine and the incredible positive impact microcredit loans could have in developing countires.
I loved the class. It opened my eyes, it broke my heart and it presented possible solutions. By the end of the semester, I was ready to fight.
I wanted fairness. I wanted justice. I wanted a better world. And that’s still what I want.
Now what, you might be asking, does walking in the forest have to do with making a better world?
Since this inspired moment in grade 12, I’ve tried 100 different ways to make the world a better place and pretty quickly I burned myself out. I was working with youth in prison and I wanted desperately to help but wasn’t realistic about the impact I could make. I made a mistake and beat myself up about it. “How could I have done this to youth who have already been through so much??”
The story rolled around and around in my head. I got more tired and drained. And eventually I quit.
Enter, THE FOREST.
First of all, it the forest told me to quit. Well, I’m not sure if it was the forest or the lake. But I was on a hiking trip sitting by a lake when I heard a quiet voice whisper to me, “Quit, give 6 months notice and get out!”
But I couldn’t. Everyone would think I was a failure. What would I do for money? What would I do with my life?
Fear rushed over my body like a wave. I was cold, I was alone and I rocked back and forth, feeling the fear. As each fear presented itself, the still small voice stayed steady, ‘You will be fine. You will be taken care of. You will find your way.’
But I can’t. ‘You can.’
So the forest told me to quit and I quit. To make a long story short, I continued to walk in the forest and listen to the insights I received. I learned how to take better care of myself. Today, I continue work with marginalized youth and do my best to make the world a better place in the small ways that I can.
And you can too. Studies show that walking outside increases creativity, improves concentration and relieves stress.
And that’s the exact reason why I created Career Coaching in the Forest to take you from a situation where you feel drained and trapped to a place where you feel respected at work and have enough money to easily pay the bills.
To create a career where you work to make the world a better place without going broke or burning out.
Curious? Check out the program here – couragecompass.org/forest
And if you have any questions email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to email or chat with you!
Have an amazing weekend!