I have a fear of heights. I also have a fear of snakes crawling all over me and of getting stuck in elevators with more than two other people. But I digress. To be perfectly clear, the actual ascent is not the problem. It’s the looking down – or the coming down – that makes my heart feel like it has been shot with a large syringe full of adrenaline. At one point in my life, I thought that if I went skydiving and bungee jumping in the same day, I would conquer this fear forever. I was wrong.
In 2003, our team started working with facilitators from Outward Bound Professional (OBP) to conduct off site professional development sessions in order to create collaboration, foster creativity, and truly ‘dig in’ to the good, the bad and the ugly to figure out what we could do to create an even stronger agency. We refined our mission and our vision and created a few BHAGs along the way. We have each asked the tough questions about our own personal growth, the partnerships we create with clients and how we want to work together to build a stronger team and culture.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, I have a business partner who thrives on adrenaline. So Ramonna led the charge of turning our offsites – once conducted in a hotel setting – into an offsite conducted in a natural setting (translation: ‘naturally vertical’). Last summer, we spent the day with OBP on the high- and low-ropes course in Genesee. Last week, we repeated this insanity by rock climbing at OBP’s base camp in Leadville. I can’t say that I will ever feel the need to be suspended 50 feet in the air by a rope and a harness again; however, I can say that I learned – once again – that regardless of my fear, I have an amazing team that I trust will get me off the side of a giant rock through encouragement, laughter and teamwork.
These are the moments that you see the most incredible personalities unfold. As I watched colleagues volunteer to climb blindfolded (helmets off to Wendy and Carrie) while others volunteered to share their deepest fears, I am reminded that we are all human. We all have fears. We all need a team to help us get up the mountain safely and provide us with the strength and support to fall gracefully.