Spring is a time of year often associated with rebirths, new beginnings, vacations and the upcoming warm season. In the heart of the Morel Mushroom season, that is so popular in these parts of the world, it is easy to become “giddy” about all the excitement that surrounds this wonderful season. Yet, with all the rain and stormy weather you may have found yourself feeling a little down and out about the lack of sunshine and beautiful weather. Well, have I got the ticket for you! This week we’re simply going lift your spirits and celebrate springtime! Feel free to sing along.
What signs of spring are most exciting to you?
(NOT Boris Pasternak)
In my usual weekly hunt for interesting topics and quotes, I came across something remarkable said by a Russian Poet by the name of Boris Pasternak. He was best known for winning a Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1958 but the quote that I came across opened up a train of thought that reminded me of something we often talk about when we’re working with groups.
“Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”
Now, if taken too literally, you might think that this quote encourages people to party hard and worry about the repercussions later. That could be the case but I feel that the point is to prepare for the future while always remembering to enjoy the present. It’s so easy to get caught up in our plans for the future (the whole “when I grow up” concept) and thus, remembering to enjoy the journey can be difficult. Granted, it has the feel of a certain speech from the movie “Dead Poets Society” but I feel as if it is important to remember to appreciate the journeys we take in life.
For TEAM EFFECT, Inc., we talk about the difference between a task and a goal. We say that the goal is the “thing” you are truly working towards while the tasks are the “tools” to get you there. In relation to our quote above you might agree that the main goal in life is to enjoy your days on this planet and feel successful. The tasks then are all the day to day projects, events, meetings, and appointments that keep us moving in the right direction. It is not necessarily the daily events that are measured as much as the quality in which we live our lives that is important.
When talking to a group, I’ll often times compare the concept to one’s education stating that it is not necessarily the ending grade that matters but rather how much you learned in the class that means the most (WARNING: Convincing parents of this idea can be quite difficult).
Well then, what are the goals you set for yourself? And what tasks are you working on to get you closer to accomplishing your goals?
Oh, and what DO you want to be when you grow up?
Sir Winston Churchill once said:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
In a world that seems so large, it can sometime feel disheartening to think about the differences you can make in your daily lives. Advancements in technology have made the world much easier to traverse but, at the same time, those advancements also help you realize how many people there are in this world.
The fact is though that it is the little things in life that can make a bigger impact in the long run and have a lasting effect on the people around us. For me it was two friends on mine in high school, one was my girlfriend at the time and the other her older sister, who brought me to Canada for the first time. There they showed me the path that I would eventually choose to follow and allow me to be the person I am today. At the time it was such a small thing to have gone on the trip and now looking back I can see how much it has meant to me. That one trip has served as a foundation for the life I live today.
The jobs we do everyday have the same kind of power. They are not necessarily what fully define us as people but they are the main outlet for making an impact on the world around us. TEAM EFFECT, Inc.’s most recent success has come in the form of our Holler Hoppin’ Zip Lines out at Rawhide Ranch. We have found great joy in spreading laughter and adventure to the visitors who join us and treat each session as an opportunity to make long lasting friends. We try to treat each 1 ½ hour session as an opportunity to spread joy, a sense of adventure, and bring groups closer together through shared experiences, and the list of benefits go on from there.
The question then is what does your job do for the community of people you see each day? Do you approach your job as just a way to make a living or do you see it as an outlet to affect those around you?
This week I am providing a video I found on YouTube that gives some insight into the contagiousness of happiness. Give it a look-see and then continue reading below.
Now, when I first watched this video I was encouraged by the facts that they provided on how easily happiness can be spread but wasn't going to post the video because of their finding in the workplace. Then I decided that their findings, although true perhaps, should be challenged. Team Effect, Inc. takes great pride in having fun in the workplace. In fact, it's one of our main goals.
With April Fool’s Day coming up this Friday, what better time could there be to challenge the thought that people can't be happy at work? Here is a link to help you prepare for a FUN Friday on the job.
Feel free to share your favorite foolish pranks, stories, or results:
With springtime quickly approaching and the smells of summer in the air, the topic of planning ahead seems to be quite suitable for this week’s topic. Many of us will soon attend work outings such as staff trainings, meetings, or conferences while others look ahead to more personal events like weddings, reunions, or vacations. Some of us may even have personal goals we are looking at accomplishing this warm season like exercise, fun, or jobs well done. No matter what it is that we are looking forward to (or maybe just looking at) there is an aspect of planning that must be considered so that we are successful and proud of what we have done.
I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person; one who likes to react to the moment presented. This works well when leading groups through a challenge course for example because we can establish goals along the way and react to how the group is functioning. However, Fritz told me one time that “those who are most prepared have the luxury of being spontaneous”. It was somewhat enlightening to think that when you look deeper at our preparation, it is only because we have a network of possible paths planned out that we are then able to produce a personalized route for our participants.
Thomas Edison once said “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets good planning.”
So, I ask you this week: What do you need to plan for in the upcoming warm season; adventures, vacations, jobs, goals?
I received the following in an email and thought it would serve as a good offerring of inspiration for this week's post. It is a philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
It’s hard to remember the headliners of yesterday. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.
Feel free to share your answers to the second quiz and give credit where credit may be due.
In case you were unaware, this past Sunday marked the beginning of one of the best times of my year. It is a time when I am able to witness some of the greatest teamwork on the face of this earth for two straight weeks. The Iditarod, known as the world’s “Last Great Race”, is a grueling 1000 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome in which the relationship between the dog team and musher (human racer) must be at its best. In the Alaskan conditions that surround this race, each team must be in perfect harmony in order to not only complete the race but survive it.
The Iditarod exemplifies so many lessons that we as team members can learn from. For starters, each dog has a specific job that they are needed for; the lead dog is often times the brains and the bravery whereas the dogs right in the back are the power. We can also learn about trust when you reflect on the fact that mushers will often times put their lives totally in the hands (or paws) of their dogs. Many stories have been told about total whiteouts where the musher can do nothing but trust that his or her dogs know where they’re going and believe in their abilities. Another lesson might come from looking at the dedication and perseverance it takes to complete a 1000 mile race in Alaskan conditions. All of these concepts can be transferable to what we find most important in our lives. What are we trained to do? What kind of trust do the people around us put on our shoulders? What kind of perseverance and dedication does it take to be at the top of our game?
Who am I routing for?
Lance Mackey: 2nd generation musher and cancer survivor going for an unprecedented 5th straight win
The better question is who are you routing for?
I encourage everyone to check out the race’s website at http://www.iditarod.com/ and follow the magic that is present in this great race. There are many great subplots within the race and you might be surprised at how much you can learn about yourself through these amazing dog teams.
The defensive cirlce of the Musk Ox
After spending a week at the Wilderness Education Association’s National Conference on Outdoor Leadership in Estes Park, Colorado, I return to you with some insight on leadership through an unlikely source. It was brought to my attention during a Project WILD workshop that the Musk Oxen of Alaska have a remarkable instinct to form a defensive circle when attacked by a predator. When attacked, the oxen form a defensive circle around their young in which the cows stand and defend and the bulls often seek and attack the predator before returning. It is through this strategy and display of teamwork that the oxen are able to defend their young from wolves, bears, and even human hunters.
As the member of a team I can relate to the Musk Ox by looking at what my role is when my group needs to work together. It seems rather important that there be a plan of action for when things are needed and for that plan to be so engrained in our heads that it is almost second nature. That’s what training is all about. Like the Musk Ox, each team member has a specific role to perform that is needed for the success of the entire team.
Which role do you relate to the most? (Calf, Cow, Bull, Wolf)
INTERESTING FACT: The undercoat of the Musk Ox is one of the warmest materials in the world and weighs almost nothing.
On this Valentine’s Day, I figured a good topic of conversation would be that of love. It is not too often that love and leadership are thought of as being paired but Paul Petzoldt was a man who seemed to have a firm grasp on how the two were intertwined.
Paul is viewed by many as the father of outdoor education. As the first lead instructor for Outward Bound USA, he pushed his students to learn how to think for themselves and use the outdoors to gain insight in their lives. From there he established the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where Outdoor Leadership took hold in order to provide the field with more experienced and knowledgeable leadership. He was one of the innovators of the Leave No Trace principles many outdoorsmen live by today and his stories and quotes still reverberate through the minds of many. One such quote stands out to me as being the perfect Valentine’s Day quote for the working environment:
"I have three rules for leaders in the outdoors: You have to know where the people you're leading are coming from, you have to know what you want to do with them, and you have to love them."
This quote seems to not only apply to the outdoor field, as Paul intended, but to any workplace or group working towards a common goal. As a company that facilitates relationship development and leadership, we’d like to know what this quote says to you. What are your strategies of showing your group members that you care about them?
In the wake of the recent “icepocalypse” that swept through the Midwest and subsequently turned the lights out for thousands, I am stuck thinking about the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Being an outdoorsman, I found the power outages and crazy weather to be somewhat exciting; however, I couldn’t help but think of all the people out there who were not as fortunate as I was and were without either the materials or knowledge to keep safe. Nonetheless, it served to me as a reset button that reminded me of the things that are important in life. A lot of the trivial things that fill our days were set aside and replaced with the thoughts of food, water and mostly warmth.
On a similar note, a topic that has come up many times on our courses is leadership under pressure; of course it doesn’t usually come in the form of a power outage and mass amounts of snow and ice. Anyone can be a solid leader when things are working as planned, but it is when things get tough that leadership is truly tested. Frustration, panic, and fear can all play a part in handicapping our performance as a team member, but great leaders step up to the plate and find a way through the proverbial ice storm. How do you react when there is a bump in the road? Better yet, what are some of your philosophies/strategies to being a good leader when times get tough? Do you have any fun snow/ice stories to share from the recent storms?