Friday, July 29, 2011

Teamwork and the Independent Educational Consultant

“Don’t worry Bar, most of them are small rapids. “

Small rapids…to me the expression small rapids is akin to jumbo shrimp; an oxymoron plain and simple.

So as I braced myself and plunged down river through the seemingly 12 foot walls of water, and 20 foot waterfalls (ok; an exaggeration I’ll admit, but still it was scary!) I realized, all too quickly, that my life, or at the very least my ability to walk without a significant limp, was in serious jeopardy.

I knew that this trip was a leap of faith; after all, I was putting my life in the hands of not only a guide who seemed to be younger than some of the t shirts I own but also a group of friends, some of whom I had known a grand total of 2 days, and others who had literally never whitewater rafted…yes, nervous is a good word to use…

As I did that day on the river, our families take a leap of faith when they retain us as IEC’s. Just as I wasn’t initially aware of my guide’s training, often times, through no fault of their own, our clients aren’t aware of the training and hard work that goes into a placement. Also, as I drifted down the river, I wasn’t aware that the rest of my team was going to be there for me at every turn, and we were going to work together to steer our way out of danger. Similarly, my families aren’t often aware of the team approach we use to help them through the difficult times, usually by the time families contact us at Loeta they are in dire straits, are seeking out answers, and are ready to work as a team; they just don’t know it…

So I learned a lot that day on the river; I gained a further appreciation for my clients and where they are coming from on an emotional level, I learned that teamwork isn’t just a phrase, but is a very important and real concept, and, pehaps most importantly, I learned that when a guide yells paddle right hard; she means it, lest you get very wet!