The transformational power of “team building” comes through our staff inviting and encouraging people to take risks, both physical and emotional.
With one recent group it became clear through our morning of trust–based field activities that, while the group was high functioning, there were relationship issues lurking below the surface.
During the preparatory talk for the Sequoia Adventure Course, we explained the purpose of the activity – find something challenging, take a small step outside your comfort zone, and then step back in. Stepping out too far will disrupt your attentiveness to learning, making it difficult to get back into “the zone.”
Finishing the final safety check, I heard a whimper. I turned and saw Denise on the first platform, gripping the tree and crying softly. “Are you okay,” I asked. She responded, “I went too far out of my comfort zone!”
I crossed over to her, and, as we discussed her options, she decided to continue. Her body and brain were screaming at her to stop, but she kept working through her fear. Her greatest concern was that her co–workers were seeing her cry. As I guided her through the course she revealed more of her concern: one particular co–worker was hard on her at work, and she feared the humiliation she would experience to be seen crying.
Once we reached the last activity I ushered her back to the ground. I then watched as that particular co–worker made his way off the course, came up beside us and, without a word, offered Denise a hug. In that moment, Denise risked being vulnerable, and her co–worker used that opportunity to be supportive and gracious. In that moment their relationship was transformed.