Being an endurance athlete I’ve slowly had to learn this and apply it to my training because let’s face it, the feeling of being outside a comfort zone sucks big time and many a time I’ve backed off slightly during intense workouts (silently hoping none of my coaches read this).
Recently we organised a team building event at the University Residence in Lija. Our company has been organising these events for a couple of years now but this was my first experience ensuring that things ran smoothly. I’m going to be honest here and say that being the adventurous person that I am, sitting on the sidelines trying to look somewhat professional in my shirt on such a beautiful sunny day was not my idea of fun. In fact it was a huge struggle, I would have loved to be a part of the games, everyone seemed to be having such a blast and the perfect weather just added to the great vibe. Most people seemed to have a smile on their face and what’s more important they were all working together. And that’s when I remembered that joining in would have defeated the whole purpose of the day i.e. to create unity amongst the employees.
Looking back, this is why I started this blog entry with a particular quote about comfort zones because I feel that this was key to the entire day. That day we were catering for a big company and for this reason people were not familiar with all of their colleagues especially those who worked in different units – hence where the challenge arose. In fact it wasn’t all smiles and team bonding; when people arrived at the Malta University Residence in Lija (one of the main venues for the team building events we organise) first thing in the morning, they all seemed a bit apprehensive and despite being a group of around 60 they divided up according to work divisions and kept to themselves a bit.
This quickly changed with their first activity, when they were randomly picked to line up in separate groups and master the sport of archery. This is where the fun began; sitting on the sidelines did have its advantages as I got to witness the different characters each take their shot at the target. There were those, eager to impress, who were sure they would be experts, because it’s only a bow and arrow, it can’t be that hard to shoot, right? Wrong – I’ve tried archery a few times in the past and can safely say that it is much harder than it looks. And then there were the more weary ones who seemed stressed out even by the thought of having a weapon in their hands. Despite the various personalities, by the end of it everyone seemed to do quite well and I was actually really impressed.
Archery was kind of an ice breaker for everyone as after that the group was already more interactive. They sat together on a large table during coffee breaks and lunch and they seemed excited about the way they had been grouped up (purposely dividing units) for the various games held in the afternoon. Adding a competitive edge to things always brings people together and when they found out they would be going head to head in activities known as ‘team olympics’ and accumulating points in order to be able to award a winner, things got serious and they really worked together. Activities were a mixture of the most inventive games you could think of ranging from catapulting angry birds at targets, building a bridge, life-size jenga, bocci etc..
It was all great fun and it was good to see them all bonding and getting to know who they actually work with. The cherry on the cake was that the winning team shared their prize with the entire group – I got a chocolate too so that was me happy for the day 🙂