Throughout the month of March, we focused on the topic of mindfulness as it relates to daily life and CPI principles.

As each day brought a new piece of mindful content, I personally learned more and more about the importance of mindfulness, and its application to myriad areas in my life.

As a full-time student and a part-time intern here at CPI, my schedule can be busy and often stressful. To prevent that stress from becoming overpowering and making life difficult, I find that practicing mindfulness is often the key.

However, it need not be done alone.

Perhaps the two most impactful things in my life that help me prevent stress and promote mindfulness are community and the outdoors. For me, rock climbing provides both these things by enabling me to spend time in the outdoors with my friends and fellow members of the rock climbing community.

The unique beauty of this community is that it truly is a colorful tapestry of personalities and backgrounds, ranging from high school students to doctors, from Brazilians to Wisconsinites, and from soft-spoken introverts to effervescent extroverts.

On a recent trip during my school’s spring break, I managed to migrate from the cold and cloudy weather of Wisconsin to sunshine and warmth in eastern Kentucky. The stress built up from an already hectic semester disappeared nearly as quickly as my cell coverage, as I fully immersed myself in the outdoors and focused on the physical challenges of rock climbing.


Over the course of the week, I discovered that the truly cathartic and therapeutic part of the experience was not just the outdoors and the rock climbing. Perhaps more powerful were the exceptional people who I was with that week. My already enjoyable activities were amplified by excited and encouraging friends who wanted nothing more than to see others succeed.

Many of us have the opportunity to be part of a supportive community like this in our own workplaces or schools, and in fact, it could play a positive role in improving how we interact with others and how we support empathy in these places.

The first step to improving empathy and community in a given setting is genuine interest in others and a concern for what they’re experiencing, be it positive or negative.

This is the environment that CPI creates at our home offices, something that I've been privileged to experience during my brief time here. This supportive community also extends well beyond our offices, and is actively created by our Global Professional Instructors as they travel around the world, providing training in a supportive, encouraging, and empathic manner. Our Certified Instructors then take that inspiration back to their workplaces, and infuse the same spirit into their own trainings.

These small communities that are temporarily created in individual training sessions have the opportunity to stretch well beyond the classroom and into the lives and communities of all the Instructors involved, all the staff they teach, and all the individuals they reach.

This extension of community is a two-way street, and involves positive input and support into the lives of those Instructors, just as much as it requires positive output and effort from them.

On one hand, Certified Instructors and CPI staff have the training and knowledge necessary to practice empathy, keep a watchful eye out for contributing factors to difficult behavior, and offer a listening ear. On the other hand, support must be provided to those Instructors to prevent staff burnout, and to regularly provide new insight, new training tips, and up-to-date feedback from a community that is going through similar experiences and challenges.

That is the beauty of our Instructor Community! If you are a CPI Certified Instructor, you have access to an online community of fellow Instructors, many of whom have similar work experiences and interact with similar clients and coworkers. This community is invaluable for consistently receiving encouragement, support, and positive feedback, so that you can reach out in turn and provide mindful support to members of the other communities in your life.

If you don't happen to be a CPI Certified Instructor and you find yourself overwhelmed by stress and the busyness of life, there are many communities that may be available to you, or you may find that, like me, being in the great outdoors is a helpful outlet for stress and a positive and healthful way to manage your mental health and increase mindfulness.

Positive communities that are available to the public include local churches, yoga studios and practices, public library book clubs, running clubs, and so much more! Or, if you want to join the CPI community, check out our upcoming Conference in Milwaukee to learn how you can join a rich community of professionals from around the country, and even the world!

Abel-Richards.jpgAbel Richards is studying International Business and French at UW-Whitewater, entering his senior year. He spends a good deal of time rock climbing both in Wisconsin and around the US, and works weekends at a rock climbing gym in Milwaukee. Abel also enjoys kayaking, and formerly worked as a sea kayak guide in Norway. To connect with Abel, find him on LinkedIn.