When was the last time you tried something new? Something adventurous? Something completely out of your comfort zone and, you did it with someone else?
I conduct team-building workshops for companies to help them build stronger relationships, but recently I focused on a much smaller team. There were only two people and I was lucky to be one of the participants!
I flew to Washington D.C. to visit my son Joel, while he was there for a Fellowship program. We had already been to all the historical sights and monuments, both together and separately. We wanted to try something new!
About 90 minutes outside of D.C. in Maryland is a quaint area called Harper’s Ferry. Locals and tourists can get their adventure on and a few thrills too. From zip lines, to kayaks to white-water rafting and tubing, there are several companies that offer half-day and full-day outings.
Neither Joel nor I had ever been on a zip line and we were both a bit nervous. But outside of the personal accomplishment that would come with the achievement, was the bonding that comes from experiencing it together. Mother and son, a team of two, sharing in the same adventure at the same time.
He insisted I go first. I felt my “mom” instincts kick in just a little bit to forge the path and it was a blast. He was proud of me and I of him as I watched him zip over to the platform I was waiting at. And then we did it again. This time he went first and waited for me. What a sense of exhilaration we both felt! White-water tubing was fun too and the rapids were not that extreme. But the current was enough to separate us a few times. I found that a little frustrating since our goal was to do this together. I also realized that my arms were not long enough to paddle effectively over the tube. Joel to the rescue! He tied our tubes together with a piece of cord that he took off my hat. Anyone remember the show MacGyver? Joel also paddled for the most part for both of us.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small the team is, there are benefits for groups of all sizes.
Here Are Three Nuggets You Can Take Away From a Team-Building Activity
Common Ground -When two or more people share experiences and create memories, it bonds them in a unique way. It will always be an event that has special meaning for them, one that they can reference back to.
Values – Most people knowingly or unknowingly judge others based on their personal values. It is the reference of our previous experiences that gives us our perspective. Knowing the base of another’s experience helps us to understand their perspective. Sharing in an event together allows you each to take your past and create a new paradigm together.
Trust – Our past experiences with others also shape our relationships with everyone else we meet. It is another point of reference. Sometimes we are rooted in those feelings, and if we are lucky, can remain open to new circumstances and form new beliefs. Experiences shared help create trust because you have gone through it together.
Discovering an aha moment from an event and sharing your favorite part of the experience creates a positive anchor and memory. Here is what I discovered on my day of adventure with my son.
Part of a being on team is learning what each of us brings to the table and lending our strengths to each other. I stepped up to go first on the zip line; Joel helped me navigate the white water. It made the day even better for both of us knowing we could rely on each other.
My favorite part – I absolutely love experiencing the world through my son’s eyes. But mostly, it was the joy of spending the day with him and deepening our connection through a shared memory we will always remember.