Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leadership in the Hunt

     This segment of my "Finding Ways to Unwind" series takes us on the hunt.  Again I would like to thank everyone in joining me in this series.  I hope you are getting something good from my experience and will also find ways to unwind from your work.  One of the best things that unwinding does for me is allows me to clear my mind.  The saying "You can't see the forest because all of the trees" holds so true for leaders and the job that they do every day.  Sometimes a bit of clarity is all a leader needs to help solve a problem at work or get inspired to move forward in your organization.  Unwinding allows the mind to clear its thoughts and see something from a different angle.  Sounds like a lame excuse to go hunting?  Maybe, but I have had many times sitting in a quiet deer stand in which an idea for work has come to me.  Unwinding could be more related to finding that quiet place for your mind to think.
     Once camp was set and we sat around the campsite enjoying the afternoon we soon decided who was going to what deer stand.  We were still about thirty minutes away from heading to the deer stand so it was time to get our hunting gear on.  It takes a bit of time to shed what we were wearing and get all of our scent blocking clothing on and get everything that you need to take, from a grunt call or binoculars and a cell phone.  Why a cell phone?  Great way to communicate with another hunter!  Texting someone who might be 300 to 400 yards away is important in giving you a heads up if a deer is coming your way.  Or if it's really slow at your stand you can get excited for your buddy if a deer is in their area.  Another reason for a cell phone is to take pictures which can provide evidence as you are sitting around the camp fire discussing the big one that came by your stand. That is if you shoot and miss this trophy buck.  You know the "Big one that got away story" that no one believes.
     Once we had all of our gear on and our bows were properly equipped, then it was time to jump on the four wheeler and head to the deer stand location.  As we were cutting across the wheat field the dust kicked up around us.  Where we were hunting had gone through two consecutive droughts.  It was so dry that the dirt in the field had turned to a fine powder, which made it difficult to keep from getting into your mouth or eyes.  The wheat field had just been planted but not much of it was coming up.  It was so dry that the main river running through the property had disappeared.  With all this, we were a little worried that there would not be too many deer in the area. Without food or water deer don't have a great habitat to live in.
     As I pulled up the four wheeler to the fence line, I noticed the tree stand about 150 yards into the "old melon patch" field.  As my fellow hunter left on the four wheeler, I made my way to the stand.  Moving into a stand you have to be careful not to draw any attention to your area.  Stepping on leaves and sticks can send a message to any of the critters around that some loud dude is in the area.  You also have to be careful about rubbing up against weeds and fallen branches.  Doing so will leave your scent for the deer to smell.  With the wind blowing slightly from the north, I walked close to the fence line then made a straight line for the tree my stand was in.  I had to step through tall weeds and grass for most of my way.  I was a little worried that I might leave my scent behind but there wasn't any avoiding this tall vegetation.  I made it to the bottom of the tree and made my way up the tree to the stand.  This evening was unseasonably warm, so by the time I got into the stand I had broken into a sweat.  I settled into the stand with about two hours of sunlight left.  For the first thirty minutes in was slow. Nothing was moving, not enough mouse.  Sorry that sounds like "The Night Before Christmas", but it was true.  It was slow.
     Slow was just fine.  I could soak in the quietness of the great outdoors and let mind just slow down. I compare these times to peeling an onion.  As each layer of my work comes off, the stronger the power of my mind comes through.  Without knowing how much time passes, I can sink deep into my own thoughts and let the stress of the work world can just melt away.  At the same time, I can be watching for that ever magnificent buck that I could tell stories about around the campfire that evening. 
     Do you have these moments where the world leaves you and the only thing you have is yourself?  Maybe it's just you and your thoughts.  Maybe it's you and your Creator.  Either way it’s time that you need to help you unwind from being a leader.  As a leader you have to find these moments.  No one is going to make them for you.  I found my place to unwind.  What about you? 

Join me in my next post to see what shows up after the slow part of the hunt.

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