Thursday, July 12, 2012

Speak Through Silence

Zip lines, nets, tires, harnesses, and ropes. Those were the things I expected to see at my Ropes Course.  I didn't know what the day would bring me so I imagined being put through a mini military training.  My thoughts were soon disappointed from the appearance of the course, but despite the looks, I had so much fun. When we arrived in Bristol, the adventure began.

Everyone went through several activities during the day. My group experienced the island, the spider web, tight rope, and the colossal wall. I had the most difficulty with the dreadful island exercise. There were three spaced out platforms (islands), two thin wooden boards, and 13 people who had to find a way to get across without falling into the "ocean". Once you step upon the first island, you lose the ability to speak. When you arrive to the second or third, your sense came back. After the bickering of which idea to use ended, the actions were placed into motion. One board was used to connect the first and second island together. When we tried to use the other board, we found out it was too short as well as the first one. The idea of placing one board under the other finally popped up. We executed the new plan and turns out it was a huge success! Everyone survived the ocean and was able to live happily ever after.

This was the most challenging activity for me because my mind was placed in a different world. I felt ignored and irrelevant whenever I tried to propose a new suggestion. My peers would push it aside or act as if they didn't hear anything at all. I was mentally defeated and felt excluded from my team. As time passed onto new exercises, my mind-set began to change. My role as a passive leader soon turned into an active one. I decided to speak my mind in an assertive way and it received more attention than the shy unsure one.

Certain obstacles required lack of speaking. I initially thought this challenge was going to put a strain on our teamwork. This rule eventually led to everyone participating and getting involved. The quietness gave the slower thinkers time to think to themselves in a calm manner, which led to them contributing more often. I think the rule was most effective on the quick thinkers. Their voices couldn't overshadow someone like me, so I was given the opportunity to use my thoughts through body language instead of words I couldn't make out. The power of silence is more powerful than I would have ever thought before.
Team Mates! 

The ropes course and team building exercises has made a big impact on my leadership skills. I was able to learn to adapt and evolve from a timid mouse to a courageous tiger. Not only did I benefit from today, but I believe the rest of my team did too. Some learned to step down while some like myself learned to step up. My experience has taken me to a new level and now I'm confident to know that my thoughts are also important and needed.

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