The reason that seesaws have two seats is because that way there is always someone to bring you back up when you go down. – Unknown
Recently, I had the opportunity to let my inner Tarzan fly and hang out on a ropes course (that’s me in the white coat in the photo above, doing the Monkey Bars 40 feet in the air). I went with a group of people that I’ve known for a long time (some as long as ten years). They’re all business owners and part of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (a Mastermind group of sorts). The ropes course starts out easy and then gets progressively more difficult. The yellow balls in the photo below? They’re not stationary. They spin. And that wasn’t even the most difficult part of the course!
The ropes course starts out on level green and at each level, you have the opportunity to leave or go on to the next level, culminating in level black (dramatic music plays).
I started the day excited, signing my personal theme song (Spongebob Squarepants, “It’s the Best Day Ever”) and generally was chirpy cheerleader. The more challenging the course got, coupled with the temperature (brrrrrr! I was cold!), the less cheerful and confident I became. There was one horrifically scary looking ropes challenge. I watched person after person do it, growing less confident each and every time I watched someone struggle, swear and sweat their way across this particular course. I did NOT want to do it. I was cold. I was hungry. And chirpy cheerleader was nowhere to be found.
But, my group was going and it was a team thing so, I gamely kept on. This is what happened when I hit the scary part of the course. The video isn’t great (email subscribers, you can only see the video by clicking through to the blog). It doesn’t look scary anymore but at the time, in the moment, it was terrifying. Listen to my team. They’re encouraging me. They’re giving me confidence. At the end when I do make it across, a huge cheer goes up as everyone celebrates with me.
The next guy on our team went. He’s about 300 pounds and 6 foot 5″. He’s a big guy. Not scared of anything. But midway through, he had difficulties and sat down on the course. No one was sure he was going to get up. But, our team kept encouraging him, gently telling him he could keep going on. And, in time, he got back up and finished the course. He was shaking when he was done.
Our team successfully made it through! YEAH! We were all on adrenaline highs. It was an amazing feeling. Our team, moved on through the course as a unit. Then we noticed the silence. We look back. Someone else is in trouble on the ropes course obstacle that we’ve all just completed. But, no one is cheering him on. No one is telling him he can do it. His team is standing, mutely looking on. My team all yells encouragement, but we’re far away and we’re not his tribe. He quits and needs to be rescued from the middle of the course.
My big guy turns to me and says, “The only difference between me and him is that I had you guys, cheering me on and encouraging me. Where was his team?”
For everything in life, we need a support team, cheerleaders to help keep the forward momentum and remind us that we’re not alone. Do you have a tribe? A group of people who won’t let you fail? If not, start investing in others and form that support team to ensure that you’re carried forward on a wave of shared vision and shared success.