Nature as WYLD's Classroom
How would you feel if your next corporate workshop or training were on the back of a horse?
An entrepreneur after our own heart, Kristin Meek believes that getting out of the office and into nature is how to get the most out of her time with business and corporate clients. By pulling them out of white walls and fluorescent lights and inviting them to her ranch in Virginia, Meek finds that she’s better able to guide clients to clear their minds, identify their individual (or team) strengths and values, and strengthen them through her careful, nature-based curriculum.
Meek studied Psychology at Duke and went on to get her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. Before founding WYLD, she was a consultant for Fortune 500 companies, universities, and public school districts – helping everyone from senior executives to elementary school kids develop talents and build a sense of purpose. Eventually, she left her consultant job and focused on bringing fresher air and fresher perspectives into her sessions.
We’re big fans of the work that Kristin and her team are doing and had to find out more.
"Everything in the great outdoors is a metaphor for the lessons and paradoxes of life and work."
Tell us your story:
I grew up incredibly blessed with a great education, great health, and wonderful friendships and mentors. Because of this gift, I’ve felt a profound responsibility to create meaningful experiences for people of all ages. Nature is our greatest classroom and I believe it is in the presence of the wilderness where we can learn best about our own true nature and “true north”. Everything in the great outdoors is a metaphor for the lessons and paradoxes of life and work.
My curiosity for psychology, ancient wisdom, and experiential learning were little signs to a bigger calling, which is now my life’s project and business, WYLD.
WYLD was originally founded as a side hustle on my family’s working cattle ranch in Wyoming in 2013. I thought it might be a cool idea to use the Wild West and ranching activities like fly fishing or herding cattle as learning modalities to teach people about their strengths and unique internal GPS as leaders, artists, and parents. Last August, I decided to hang up my consultant hat and give WYLD the full-time focus I felt it needed.
Nine months later, we have an incredible team across the US and our mission is resonating with so many: we guide individuals, teams, and businesses in the intentional design of how they spend their time. We use their talent, build their tribe, and personalize their environments. The way we do this is through consulting, experiential off-sites, retreats, and coaching. WYLD draws from positive psychology, neuroscience, Gallup workplace research, ancient wisdom, and ecopsychology to create customized learning experiences.
What occupies most of your time during the day?
Typically, I’m coaching individuals or designing curriculum for different client teams. A lot of my day is spent playing and brainstorming with the team around various needs we have for the next three months. I also tend to visit my chickens to gather fresh eggs for my avocado toast.
"I’d say our days are a split between being and doing — laziness and adventure."
What occupies most of your time during the weekend?
My husband and I (and our black lab, Olive) live on a farm so there are a lot of chores to be done on the weekends. I’d say our days are a split between being and doing — laziness and adventure. I try to be outdoors as much as I can, which can be hard with the inertia of deadlines, books to read, or Netflix. Sam, my husband, lures me out of the house because he’s usually building or fixing something or taking the llamas for a walk. I also love taking baths, reading, and cooking yummy meals for friends.
What do you wish you had more time to do?
Read and philosophize! Ideally in my bathtub or outside in the woods. Life goal: bathtub in the woods.*
*Editor’s Note: Us, too.
We cannot be in a state of flow when doing more than one thing at a time.
What do you wish you did less of?
Multitask. I’m working HARD at a single task at a time but my brain can feel like kittens playing with yarn sometimes. I recently read Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life and it gave some compelling evidence about how unproductive and inefficient we are when we multitask. We cannot be in a state of flow when doing more than one thing at a time. This got my attention big time and now I bring this into my coaching and workshops… that said, I just opened 10 other tabs and answered a text, ha.
What is your favorite non-digital activity?
Taking a bath.
What is your favorite tech or app that helps you balance your life?
I love Inscape, which is a guided meditation, sound healing, and relaxation app. Typically I use it when I wake up to start my day and when I fall asleep.
I also believe we should work in ways that give us energy and work when we have energy.
How do you manage work-life balance as an entrepreneur?
Ritual, practicing what I preach, being in nature, and trying to do one thing at a time. A favorite mantra I have is poco a poco, or little by little. It helps me slow down. I work to harness my strengths to manage my time in a way that feels good to me, even if it may seem crazy to other people.
I also believe we should work in ways that give us energy and work when we have energy. If that means 10 PM at night, cool. I try to remind myself and get reminders from others to take lots of breaks and get movement throughout the day. There’s a ton of research on how helpful this is for our well-being and mind.
If you could have a day off to spend anywhere with anyone, what would you do?
I’d like my Grandma Jane (who’s no longer alive) to give me a tour of her hometown in County Cork, Ireland where she lived on a working farm and used to ride her horse to school every day.
What would you pack in a suitcase if you had to live with only those items for the rest of your life?
The book Simple Abundance (part of my daily ritual), pictures of my friends and family, a never-run-out-of-ink pen and a massive journal, probably some avocados, a boho dress, and my glasses or contacts.
What do you think you’d be doing in a world without technology?
Riding horses. Writing, reading, teaching, and sending snail mail letters all the time.
Who are your favorite writers?
Mary Oliver. Anne Lammot. David Brooks. Dan Pink.
How do you create balance in your life?
What is balance…a moving target, inner peace? I tend to listen to my body and go from there. She doesn’t lead me astray; I just have to listen. Learning how to listen, though, is what takes practice and time. Balance isn’t doing things at 50/50. It changes every day, just like doing my best is different each day.
Which living person do you most admire?
Oprah. I even wrote her a letter when I was a child.