Guest Post by Sean Glaze
It had just rained, and we thought it would be fun to explore a bit. The problem was that we soon found ourselves in the middle of nowhere and stuck in the mud.
This was before everyone had a cell phone in their back pocket, so it took a good bit of time and energy for us to finally get ourselves out of the mud.
Having worked for years with a variety of teams, athletic, corporate, and other organizations, I have found that it is not only vehicles that get stuck.
A Stuck in the Mud Story
We all get stuck in the mud at times – in our work, in our spiritual lives, and even in our relationships. And there are a few valuable lessons we learned that day on a South Georgia dirt road that may save your group from unnecessary frustration and help your team to get unstuck.
First, we made a mistake and drove unprepared onto unfamiliar rough roads.
When my friend first realized that his truck’s back tires were caught in the mud, he gave it more gas and dug the hole deeper. This went on for a few minutes until, after hitting the steering wheel out of frustration, we realized if nothing changes, nothing changes – and decided to take a different approach.
Next, after spinning our wheels unsuccessfully more than a few times, we decided that I should get out and find gravel or sticks or a board to place under the tires to give us more traction.
Finally, after freeing the vehicle from the mud, we had to find our way back to a better road.
And our story from years ago is very similar to what many teams and individuals find themselves experiencing.
To get out of a frustrating and difficult situation, you need to try something different and get more traction so you can get yourself back on track.
Getting Unstuck: Individual and Team
Here are four questions you might want to consider:
1. What is the mud that you are stuck in?
Maybe you find that you keep dating the wrong guy / girl. Maybe you are in a job that leaves you unfulfilled or on a team that keeps struggling with the same flaws or issues.
What is your mud?
2. What kind of wheels have you been spinning without success?
Maybe you have been finding dates through your friends. Maybe you have allowed yourself to stagnate at your current job instead of seeking new skills, maybe your team has been pushed with fear and criticism rather than encouragement.
What have you been doing that needs to change?
3. What creative form of “traction” is available?
Maybe you should seek a different set of dating candidates. Maybe you should take a class or apply for a new position that challenges you. Maybe your team needs something to shake it up and try to approach your season or project in a new way.
What ideas can you come up with that you haven’t tried yet?
4. What is your “better road” and eventual destination?
Maybe you have an idea of the type of person you want to be with – don’t accept less than that. Maybe you know the type of job you want – don’t continue to settle for a position that you aren’t passionate about. Maybe your team knows what it wants to accomplish – don’t let distractions or diversions keep your teammates from focusing on that goal.
You have to know your destination – otherwise being stuck isn’t keeping you from getting anywhere. Your destination determines the road and direction you must move in, and the truth is:
The only reason you likely got stuck in the mud in the first place is that you tried to take a shortcut or weren’t clear about a destination when you began your journey.
Ask for Help in Getting Unstuck
Back in college, having a winch would have been helpful. Sometimes we need others to help pull us out of the mud we are stuck in.
Sometimes, individually, we can benefit from the guidance and prodding of a friend who reaches out or suggests ways to help get ourselves unstuck. If you are looking for conference ideas to engage and inspire your group to get out of the mud, consider inviting a team-building speaker to share a message that includes fun team development activities.
The important thing is that you stop spinning your wheels and find your way to a more solid and successful path.
Do you want to get a bit more traction with creating a more cohesive team or boosting the morale in your organization? Whether you want a day of team building for teachers, athletes, or a corporate group, it is important to “get traction” by doing something different that will re-focus and energize your team.
If you can think of any other lessons that would help teams or individuals get “out of the mud,” I hope you will share them!
Sean Glaze has enjoyed motivating people and inspiring teams for over 20 years and has consistently turned under-achievers into cohesive winners – both on and off the court – by sharing helpful information and focus on team development activities. Follow Sean on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn for free teambuilding resources and articles to help lead your team.