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.
I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about
I feel good in a special way
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine –
When we laugh, our energy is lifted. It is as though we are attached to a virtual helium balloon that pulls us up. No one knew this better or connected more deeply with others through laughter than Scott McKenzie, host of the morning show at Orlando’s Mix105.1
I had the honor of interviewing Scott in May of this year about his battle with cancer. What he shared with me appeared on both The Good Men Project and Talking About Men’s Health. In typical Scott fashion, he told me it wasn’t about him, but that he was honored to share his story to give hope to others fighting the same ferocious battle, in whatever form they had. He never wanted to be known as “The Cancer Guy” – but if there was something he could do to help others, he was there. Especially if it involved laughter!
“The treatments for cancer had changed so much in the seven years since this journey began,” he told me, and he was anticipating being accepted into a clinical trial that would hopefully knock this monster out of his fragile system. He had made a few attempts, but each one was unsuccessful as his blood counts were not strong enough on a consistent level to enter the trial. He made his last and final attempt in July, staying in Philadelphia for about a month then returning to Orlando to write his final blog post, sharing that the treatment was no longer a viable option. He went on to say he had also contacted Hospice and made his final arrangements. Fans and friends alike were shocked. Scott passed away a few days later.
The outpouring of love for Scott on his Facebook timeline, as well as Mix 105.1’s, co-worker’s, and even other radio stations has been no less than remarkable. Thousands of fans, as well as friends, family members and co-workers left heartfelt messages expressing their condolences, sadness, love and memories. There have been so many responses, shares and posts, that he became a trending topic, and for a short time, the number one trending topic in the nation. The Hashtag #OrlandoLovesScott has been seen on many posts. Many expressed that he felt like family to them. The photo that accompanied his passing on the radio station’s website soon appeared along the Interstate.
This humble, funny guy had a way of reaching through the radio every weekday morning for 24 years in the Orlando market, making drive time and the beginning of the workday fun for so many. He made everyone around him laugh, both on the air and off. It was a gift that he loved to share.
Many listeners commented that he was more than just the DJ on the radio; he was a friend and even family. Listening to the on-air tributes to him from co-workers, both former and current, we heard it reiterated over and over again how much the listeners meant to Scott and how much he loved going into the studio every day. Fans were delighted to hear Erica Lee, his co-host for the first 20 years as part of the tribute. Listeners also got to know through the years his family; wife Fran and daughter Lauren whom he spoke about often.
Scott was also heavily involved in the community and always willing to MC events that helped others.
His funeral expectedly was full of tears, but like his life, there were moments that included laughter. Stories that were shared about his life showed how deep the connections were he had with others as well as his zest for living every moment with joy. The impact he had on those he met, and those he never met, was spoken about again and again. Scott loved music (especially The Beatles), he loved his job, and he loved being in the studio and connecting with people. His presence in the Orlando community will be missed greatly.
Memorial contributions in Scott’s memory may be made to: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Children’s Miracle Network, and the Coalition For The Homeless of Central Florida.
You can read the interviews with Scott; his emotional story through May of this year on The Good Men Project and his medical journey on Talking About Men’s Health.
My husband and I are learning what it means to tread water. Not literally, but we are leaning to stay afloat and together when there is no rescue in sight.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Our house was struck by lightning, leaving a ragged hole in the chimney and frying out the wiring in our home. Our 11-year-old miniature schnauzer contracted diabetes a few months ago and as the doctors warned us could happen, went blind. Tragically, he passed within a week of the lightning strike. The stress of not being able to see, being in several different houses before we moved to a hotel and other medical complications were too much for him and he shut down. To add to the frustration, two trusted advisors see our retirement financial plan differently which adds to the confusion.
So our heads are spinning. We’re distracted by too much on our plates; me, managing more than one business and working with clients, and my husband, trying to coordinate contractors and the insurance company while taking care of his customers. In other words, we are stressed!
The easiest thing for us to do is take our frustrations out on the closest person in our lives, physcially and emotionally. For us that usually happens to be each other. But that easily could also be our son, or best friend, or whoever is within breathing distance on a bad day.
It’s not that we intend to be mean or inconsiderate. Stress can turn the nicest of people into mud-slinging, insult-throwing, mean-spirited monsters. The words and actions can just bubble up from inside and then explode.
This is not normal behavior for either of us. We are generally thoughtful, happy people. So when we hit the wall of overwhelm, one of us can often morph into a version of ourselves that we don’t recognize and it can put stress on the relationships that we hold most dear. The saying, “We always hurt the ones we love,” comes to mind, but it makes sense. Those are the people in our lives that are closest to us and we feel safe in some way unloading our pain, sorrow and anger with the world on them.
These bursts of frustration can damage even the best relationships, steadily chipping away the love and trust. While one spouse or partner may feel safe lashing out, it is a safe bet your “loved one” doesn’t feel safe being around you, not knowing when the next emotional explosion is headed their way.
Communicating is key in any relationship and we work at it every day. Hurtful words and actions can be destructive and we work to make choices that avoid that path.
Here are 5 ways we learned to keep our cool and our relationships healthy
Think Before You Speak
Yes, take a deep breath. It’s the obvious method that most have heard about, but it works. Breathing deeply calms our nervous system and enables us to slow things down for a moment and find balance. It is like the refresh button on the computer.
Taking three deep breaths works even better and about equals the timeframe of counting to ten. It gives us space to gather our thoughts and speak them effectively and kindly, versus from a place of anger.
Divert Your Mind
Take a time out. Focus your energy on something else. Physical activity such as working out often helps disburse the negative energy. Or you might choose a creative outlet. Meditating can take your mind to a non-judgmental place, where you can tune out from your stressful thoughts and feelings and calmly explore solutions. For me, a long walk listening to an audio book on my phone takes me to another realm, while my husband heads to the bowling alley to work on his game.
Regardless of what attracts and inspires you, putting your attention in another direction allows space, time and energy between you and your loved ones.
Chill With Great Music
There is lots of research showing music calms and soothes the soul as well as lowers blood pressure. Our emotions respond to music, so it’s no surprise that music can decrease our stress hormones. It can also raise our energy and calm our senses. You don’t have to listen to smooth jazz or classical, (unless that is your preference,) just find the kind of music that feeds your soul.
Look For Humor
You have probably heard the saying, “One day we will look back on this and laugh.” There are parts of our situation that will never be humorous , for us losing our sweet dog is one of those. There are others that we will likely be laughing about in time – what’s the big deal about a hole in the chimney when we live in Florida and we might get cold enough for a fire one or two weeks a year? Sometimes we can find the humor in the situation and laugh now. It’s all a matter of perspective. Laughter relieves stress, soothes tension and is a natural muscle relaxant.
Ask For Help
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit when we need help, but it is one of the most effective ways to move through a process. But who do you ask?
Start with the people you love most. The shift of asking for help versus lashing out builds the relationship and opens lines of communication. Let them know you are frustrated and needing each other’s help to sort the situation. This changes the paradigm from attacking each other to building a bridge together.
Maintaining healthy connections with others, especially those we hold in our hearts takes work, positive communication, and sometimes a little space away that allows us to rejuvenate and regroup.
Admittedly, sometimes my husband and I both get really tired and overwhelmed dealing with a problem we are facing, but facing it together takes some of the burden off both of us, strengthens us and helps us to find the laughter.
Originally published on The Good Men Project