Whenever we have a new member on the People Team, our team gets together in person to welcome that new team member, get to know each other better, and collaborate on work that can be done better face-to-face. We also like to have a little fun. This week, we gathered in Chicago, and after a productive day of collaboration, we went axe throwing. Not only did we have fun, we each took a lesson away from the activity.
Here are the three lessons our team learned from axe throwing.
Let it go, and find flow.
During the first couple of rounds of axe throwing, Rebecca had no success in landing her axe on the target. As Rebecca described, “I overthought every single move . . . How do I hold my hands? Is it swing, step, and then throw? The second I let the axe go, I knew it didn’t feel right. During the third round, I stopped overthinking and just let that axe go. The axe landed within the target and I scored 3 points. What worked is that I stopped overthinking and let the axe go. I could feel the flow in my body. It just felt right.” How many times do you get stuck overthinking?
Sometimes the best way to make progress is to stop thinking and take action. Eventually, after some practice, you’ll get it right. Do we put too much pressure on ourselves? How does that pressure impact your overall outcome? Sometimes you just have to let go, trust the process and not always try to control the outcome.
We can all use some coaching from time to time.
Throughout our experience at axe throwing, we all struggled to begin. With the help of our amazing coach Fred, we were able to make small incremental changes and improve our performance. None of the information was earth shattering, but it all helped us march in the right direction. Even when Fred had stepped out, we were able to help coach each other. Having an external perspective can help when you’re frustrated or stuck!
Performance is a cycle. Sometimes you’re great and hit your target; other times you miss the mark. During those times where you miss the mark, having someone who can coach you to get back on track is essential. When we seemed to be in a slump, we worked together to coach each other through it.
Sometimes, you just need a little support!
Overthinking the instructions, and worrying about how embarrassing I looked started to overwhelm me. What if I never hit the target? Is anyone secretly laughing at me? Imposter syndrome quickly took over. I was a first timer who considered myself uncoordinated. As self doubt started to sink in, my team offered support that I didn’t know I needed. Even while others were trying to figure things out themselves, they took time to reassure me that I would get better. They started providing me with tips to perform better by observing my form, and offering valuable feedback which I quickly received, acted on, and then voila! I landed the first throw around the 30 minute mark! Without feedback and motivation from my team, I’m not sure how long doubt would have sunk in. How do you break out of imposter syndrome and what tools do you use to find success? It’s valuable to remember that when we believe in ourselves, we’re able to help others bring out their best.
Can you accept support if you’re not able to be vulnerable? Watching your colleagues throw, score and celebrate while you struggle to get one axe on the board, let alone score a point, can put you on the defense. Until your walls come down, you won’t be able to accept the support and encouragement that help you achieve success.