obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles and Unleashing Unknown Capabilities

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I watched her stand on the precipice of the 164-foot waterfall, her brow furrowed in a determined look. Leaning back on the slippery rock, she was now at a 90-degree angle, knees bent in a strong stance with the river’s water rushing around her feet, trusting in her harness.

Reka and I were privileged to join 18 other couples on an adventure trip. The group was comprised of people from a business group of entrepreneurs and spouses. The company running the event was Go Xtreme Adventures.

This trip had been presented as a higher-end adventure trip to an unknown destination with great accommodations, food, and adrenaline-based activities. They delivered.

We were split into two primary teams and within each group, we broke into teams of four. Spouses were purposely split up. Each event had points associated with success or failure of the challenge.

The group was mainly comprised of business owners – shy, quiet, reserved, and non-competitive types. Okay, most of us are type A and competitive as hell. I found it interesting watching the interactions, perceived social contracts, and the obstacles overcome. These observations tended to be most prevalent in the zipline and rappelling course.

The course instructors did a fantastic job with their communication, both verbal and non-verbal. The structure was well executed to get people started, and each step advanced the awareness and comfort level of what was to come.

We were quickly becoming a team within the two primary groups. We ranged in age from mid-30s to mid-50s with a wide array of fitness levels.

The highlight of the entire trip came to me while observing how everyone, 100%, completed all five of the rappelling and zipline obstacles. I had talked with some participants and knew that others were immensely uncomfortable with these challenges and never, as in never in a million $&*^%#*&$ years, would have done these obstacles. Had it been solely couples attending, I’m confident there would’ve been some major blowouts. Had it been limited to families, many would’ve had one parent only taking pictures for “the kids” as an excuse to avoid the obstacle.

In our case, we would lose a point for every obstacle not completed. The team needed each member to complete the obstacle. The person in front jumped in, smiled, and did the obstacle. And so it went, each person stepping up and diving in. In some cases, there were legitimate tears, full body shaking, and held breath. But I never, not once, heard the words “can’t” or “won’t”. I never once heard someone complain or even express fear that indicated they would not do it.

What I did see was a universal support for each other and celebrations of fears addressed and overcome. There was no judgment – only support, compassion, and competition. The focus was on a common goal with a clear understanding of how both the team and individuals could contribute to that success. This same thinking applies in business situations. Having a clear definition of what success looks like and what each individual is expected to do to achieve this success is critical. Just as important is ensuring that as a team, the group helps to support each other in pursuit of a common goal.

The water flow was strong and the rocks slippery, but step by step, she made it down the entire waterfall. Everyone did. For some, it was fun; for others, it was a memory that would not be forgotten; and for a number of people, it was an eye-opener to their unknown capabilities within.

Do you need a little push to jump off the ledge and tackle your obstacles? Our goal is to help everyone unleash their unknown capabilities. Reach out today!

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