Two days ago I spent my day with two groups of high school girls who were on a retreat and had scheduled a day on the low and high ropes courses to facilitate some of the life lessons they were working on. My job was to lead them and observe group and individual dynamics so I could bring those lessons to the forefront of the day and leave the girls with more introspect and encouragement.
I love the low ropes course because inevitably, dynamics push their way to the surface in the most inopportune moments, and the reality of life comes screaming through.
This group like so many was comprised of competitive people who thrived on being given a goal to meet and this spirit became so pronounced that not only was it important to meet the goal, but it was imperative to meet the goal before the other team. Although the groups are never aware, I fully expect a level of frustration to develop as groups are working through certain challenges, and I often will design a scenario by modifying a challenge for the sole purpose of creating frustration for the group, especially if they are familiar with each other and already have a level of trust and team building skills. Yet, I never fail to be pleasantly surprised at how the moments of frustration play out and how unexpectedly the nuggets of gold show are revealed in the process.
Such was the case, when after a gruelling 25 minutes of failures and restarts, the team became agitated and blood pressures rose. In a moment of resignation, one girl looked at me and said, “Did the other group take this long to complete this?” Feeling some measure of pleasure at the fact that my nugget of gold had appeared, I smiled and gave her some encouragement to redirect her focus while I began formulating the debriefing which would take place following the activity. Needless to say, the human tendency to compare and be purpose driven continued to show itself, and our motto for the day became “just relax and enjoy the journey.”
Once again, the nugget of gold the girls discovered also became a discovery I shared in and have begun consciously re-implementing in my own life since. Not that I have never done it before, but as with all life lessons, we humans have to be reminded quite frequently. In a day of perfecting time management, crossing off tasks to do, juggling appointments and creating opportunities, the joy of the journey gets lost along the way. Life moves at a fast pace and brings with it transitions, joys, disappointments and hurdles. Yet in the midst of it all, there must be some level of simply taking a breath, relaxing and enjoying the journey!