Trust on a Tightrope – Challenge your Team
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in an incredible experience. I joined a team of five women and two men as we walked across swaying cables 45 feet in the air, holding on to only each other.
The rules were simple:
- Don’t touch any metal. This included the cables we were about to traverse and the clips to the harness that would catch us if we fell.
- Once we were all on the cables, we had to link together like a human Cheerio and let go of the harness supports.
- Ask for help from each other.
It was terrifying, exhilarating and fun all at the same time. But not at first. Each one of us had to step out of our comfort zone, face and conquer our fears, and then work as a team to move from one platform to the next.
We moved very slowly as one by one, we let go of the fear of falling, fear of heights, and fear of looking stupid to each other and to the people down below. We moved so slowly that the next group wondered if we would ever get to the first platform so they could start their challenge
Something else happened, too. With trust and support, the entire team became more competent. By the time we reached the second platform, we were ready to cross the final segment, a crisscrossed cable with a crisscrossed rope for support. When the guide said we could choose blindfolds, five of our team tied kerchiefs around their eyes. Still not holding the harness cables, the “seeing” team members guided and instructed the “blind” members to cross the cable X, then the rope X, then onto the final platform. No one on our team fell, not even the blindfolded members.
From the final platform, the way down was on a zip line. When it was my turn, our guide instructed me that I did not have to let go of the harness ropes. I nodded, pushed off and let go. I waved my arms and screamed in sheer joy as I zipped across, then back to center, then touched down.
Trust in Your Team
In many organizations, trust, respect, and support are missing. During our ropes challenge, I learned that by conquering my fear, I could step outside my comfort zone and be available for other members of my team. That’s when trust could be established and support could be provided. I could ask for help because I knew it would come immediately and without judgement.
When you go to work tomorrow, look around. Who is struggling? Who is fighting inner demons? Ask, “how can I help you?” With trust and support, you will overcome challenges and develop group confidence. It will change the entire team and it will change you. You might even have fun at work!