Geography 101: “Where” Matters

We all get stuck sometimes. We can be in a groove one day, and then suddenly find ourselves in a rut the next. It isn’t necessarily important to figure out what happened, but it is important to figure out what to do next. It isn’t what happens to us that matters, it’s what we do about it.

I am currently in the middle of nowhere, at our family cottage in New Brunswick. We got here a week ago, and we will be here for another week, and then we head back home and the kids start school, and everything returns to “normal”.

I don’t know what it is about this place, but everything just seems more calm and peaceful here. I came here by myself in January to get my book started, and I think that that was when I noticed how different everything feels here.

When I was doing the CTI Coaches training, I remember being sceptical when I first heard the term “geography”, and the concept that where you are, and even what position your body is in, can make such a big difference. But I can now say that I am a firm believer.

The best thing is that you do not have to drive 9 hours to my cottage to enjoy the benefits that Geography can give you. You could simply walk out the door and walk to the nearest park bench, or the local Starbucks. Or head to the airport and fly down south to sit on a beach, if you like.

The point is, where you are matters. It changes how you see things, how you think about things, how you feel, how you relate to others, and how you think about the future. When you bring along others you will learn things about them, and when you go alone, you will learn about yourself.

If your family is important to you, it makes sense to carefully consider where you get together. If you work in a family business, you probably have already experienced the fact that some people are better at separating “home” and “work” than others. When I started working fulltime for my Dad, I was still living at home, but within less than a year I couldn’t take it anymore and had to move out.

A family retreat is something that some business families try to incorporate into their schedules, as an opportunity to get everyone together, but in a different place, because they realize that “where” matters. The parents’ home is their place and their turf, even if you grew up there. The office is a place of work, and some of the stuff that needs to be discussed is not work related (even if it is some of the hardest work!).

Most families try to choose a resort location, and they try to make sure they have a variety of activities on the schedule, as well as lots of free unscheduled time, to allow people and smaller groups to interact as they please.

Whether your family is ready for this type of bonding activity or not is another question of course, but it will only happen when somebody decides that it is something worthwhile. And then it has to be followed up and repeated in the future in order to get some momentum.

Regardless of whether there are any family retreats in your future, I hope you will try out the geography theory that I am talking about. Notice how things look and feel different depending on where you are. And then when you get stuck, you will be able to try moving to a different space to change your perspective and get back on track.