Several weekends ago we held the latest in a number of annual leadership class retreats at Ness Lake Camp and Conference Center. From students’ reports, the retreat is a high point of their experience in taking leadership classes at the college. I have had the privilege to be involved in all of the Ness Lake retreats.
A key part of the retreat experience is the opportunity for students to build relationships/make connections with their classmates. These connections play an important role in improving the overall classroom dynamics and interactions throughout the rest of the semester.
The content theme/focus for the retreat is “Building Your House of Destiny” – tools and strategies for developing and mastering self-leadership. As has been true at other retreats, the key learning opportunities sometimes occur in unexpected circumstances. This brings me to the “Jungle Swing”. Riding
the “Jungle Swing” involves being strapped into a harness, climbing to the top of a platform more than 20+ feet high, being attached to a sturdy rope tied to the branch of a giant Cottonwood tree, and then stepping off the platform for an exhilarating swing out over the lake – back and forth for two – three minutes. From watching various students ride the “Jungle Swing”, and from my own ride on the swing, I want to suggest several leadership/life applications/takeaways:
- 1. To ride, you have to trust the rope, trust your guide and step off the platform into the unknown. To lead, and to walk out your destiny, you have to step up and step out of your comfort zone.
- The first step is the scariest. Stepping off/up is a choice. Walking out our vision is not passive but active.
- Once you step off there is no going back to “the platform”. Once you take that first step in the direction of your vision you have a shift in your perspective, the ride is still scary but everything looks different.
- The swing is exhilarating but scary; to thrive you have to settle into the rhythm of the rope.
Sometimes you will need encouragement to believe you can jump – step up to lead and make a difference.
It takes a team. “One is too small a number to achieve greatness” [John Maxwell].
Where do you need to get on your “Jungle Swing”?
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