Painful Realization

The hardest thing to learn is what you think you already know, right?

Pain is a faithful instructor…

I read some years ago that the product of a team and the product of individuals aren’t the same. I’ve come to believe / realize the truth in this. Here’s the story that drove it home like no other. It was 2005 and I’d just returned from an extreme missions training pilot course. My mind was being brought into the light of teamwork in ways I thought I already knew.

I’ll spare you the gore of the incident, but I came face to face with a deception in my own life. Since very young, I was thrust into leadership. Some of the thrusting was my own doing, some was that of others.

Because I’d been routinely in leadership, I mistook this (somehow) for knowing how to be a good teammate. It seems strange now, as the two clearly aren’t the same thing. What I knew was how to be in charge.

It took a little drama to wake me from my stupor.

After the drama of team clash and proof beyond doubt that I knew how to wrestle people into submission, in a way that reminded me of my broken and abusive predecessors, I saw a light.

Continue reading “Painful Realization”

the emerging 12/14/2009

IMG00011-20091201-1407I recently observed something that came as a surprise to me about the emerging generation.  As a part of a team that trains for short term international missions, I had designed an event that was tiring, difficult, challenging, team-focused, and intended to be generally miserable.  Events like this should help people pull together as a team and become a unit, instead of just a collection of individuals.  Common objectives in an adverse environment is the stuff that molds us together, helps us see each other as we are, and not by the facades that are common.  With this in mind, I had revved up the planning to make the event, not impossible, but hard.

We were taking the students in teams of roughly ten, so that we could isolate the activity’s focus and no one would get lost in a crowd.  That part worked well.  Really it all worked well.  The students came together and helped each other, pulling each other along and not leaving anyone behind when weaknesses became a clear liability to the stronger members.  They pulled together.  They overcame the adversity.  They championed the challenge. Continue reading “the emerging 12/14/2009”