From adventuring in the Australian outback as a young man,
to Himalayan expeditions later in life, Stephen's love for the earth's wild
places has taught him a lot about the nature of character - and that insight
has gone on to inform the Heartstyles model...
"In the thin air you get clearer vision"
It can be hard to get a grasp on what's going on for us internally when we're surrounded by the background noise of everyday life. Getting away from civilisation and indulging in a little solitude can be a great way to gain some clarity - and it's an opportunity Heartstyles' experiential learning programmes can offer. But even if leaving it all behind isn't an option, Heartstyles coaching helps participants develop the self-awareness to understand their own emotional and mental state at any given moment.
"You can't be brave unless you're scared"
Mountaineering isn't about being an adrenalin junky. Yes, there's an element of risk - but the art of the activity is in risk mitigation, not simple risk taking. You have to admit there are things to be scared of and figure out how you can safely confront them.
Character development is very similar. It requires us to face things we find uncomfortable, frightening or even painful - because only then can we start modifying the behaviours that arise from fear and pride. Helping people find the courage required for this is a big part of what Heartstyles is all about.
"It's developed my discipline, my sense of planning..."
When you're alone in a potentially dangerous environment, there's no one to make excuses to. You have no option but to take responsibility for yourself, especially if things get tough.
That's an incredibly valuable experience, because in our day to day lives there always mitigating factors we can blame if we're not hitting our potential - be it tiredness, a difficult colleague or something else. Strong characters continue to accept and take responsibility for their actions, regardless of external conditions. That's a mind set our programmes help participants to foster.
"Look and what is and say: this is the time to turn around"
Ego-driven mountaineers have a tendency to end up dead. Because the mountain doesn't care how far you've travelled, how close you are to your goal or how much you 'deserve' to reach the top - if you make a poor judgement call, it'll kill you all the same.
That's why, despite being just 300 meters from a summit he'd spent huge amounts of mental and physical energy to reach, Stephen turned his team around when he realised the conditions were against them. If he'd let competitive or striving impulses get the better of him, it would have meant real danger.
If you're leading your team through a challenge at work, it may not be a matter of life and death - but failing to keep your ego in check is still likely to pose a risk to your collective success.
If you'd like to learn more about how our outdoor programmes can help you and your team grow, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.