CEO's Blog

CEO Blog: Balance Work and Life By Getting Into The Woods.

Time management has always been a challenge and it’s crucial to take time to recharge.
Photo Credit: Matt Kormann

Author: Matt Kormann

Time management has always been a challenge, but being able to stay connected 24/7 probably makes it more difficult than ever. It’s crucial to take time to recharge. Experts have long known that businesses benefit when employees use vacation time.

Although a few large corporations are moving to unlimited personal time, the traditional idea of “taking time off” isn’t always the solution. For instance, it’s been a few years since our family took a traditional vacation, but I often find chunks of downtime really help me focus. Last week was a great example.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know I’m new to hunting. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by mentors at the ATA. Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, offered to take me on my first turkey hunt last week. We live relatively close to each other, so I could reach the woods early, hunt several hours, and be back at my desk before lunch. We got skunked the first day, but that time in the woods felt like a shot of work-adrenaline.

When I got back online late that morning, I think I accomplished more than I had the entire day before. Getting skunked also drove me to hunt again three days later. That was a good idea, because Dan got us close to a gobbler within 90 minutes, and I dropped him. Harvesting my first turkey provided several benefits. It got my creative juices flowing, inspiring me to write a blog I’d been struggling to complete. It also gave me perspectives I’ve never had before. Once I returned to my desk, I was fired up to work even harder.

Matt Kormann, President and CEO of the Archery Trade Association stated, "We owe it to our industry to share such experiences by mentoring beyond youngsters; beyond the stereotypes. Ask around at your next league shoot. Chat with folks in your small group at church. I guarantee you’ll find someone who’s interested in hunting, but just needs a nudge; a friendly invitation." Photo Courtesy: Matt Kormann.

One of the biggest revelations from those two hunts was the importance of mentoring, one pillar of the ATA’s strategic plan: We must increase participation in these sports we love. Mentoring plays a role there, but we too often think of mentoring as taking kids on their first hunts. Those are great experiences for both mentor and child, but it’s far from the only mentoring possibility.

I’ve felt intimidated by hunting because I didn’t grow up with it. You know all those second-nature things that lifelong hunters take for granted? They were hard for me to notice, let alone understand. I couldn’t even fathom carving up a turkey on a truck’s tailgate before last Friday. Today? I’m confident I could do it solo, because a great mentor took the time to show me how.

As a guy in his mid-40s who’s just entering the hunting community, I’m shocked by how easy it was to get into the woods and learn how to have some success. We owe it to our industry to share such experiences by mentoring beyond youngsters; beyond the stereotypes. Ask around at your next league shoot. Chat with folks in your small group at church. I guarantee you’ll find someone who’s interested in hunting, but just needs a nudge; a friendly invitation.

And what if you need an additional selling point to coax that 40-something friend to hunt? Maybe mention the added benefits of spending a little time away from the office!

Who mentored you on your first hunt? Have you mentored a new hunter in return? Tell us about it. We’d love to hear from you!

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