Does it seem to you that teamwork has become a preference versus a priority in our culture? Don’t we hear “I prefer working in a team” or “I prefer working alone”? I’m all about honoring our uniqueness, individuality, and owning the things that make us who we are, but I’m about to make a few squirm when I say, originality does not equal preference. I see it more like this: people are to teamwork like cars are to the nuts and bolts in the engine. Somehow, car analogies seem relatable to the way we work. We go, try to get somewhere, carry others along with us, need fuel and maintenance, and sometimes repair. Oh, and eventually we die. At some point, the shell of our body will no longer be in working order. I digress. If teamwork is NOT a preference, then we don’t choose it based on if it’s comfortable or convenient, we choose it because it’s necessary.
We like to toss around words as excuses. “Oh, I don’t like working with people because I’m an introvert and people exhaust me.” I bet I am stepping on some toes now. I’m stepping on my own toes, so we’ll all need a new pedicure after this is over. The thing is, people, all of them (introvert, extrovert, omnivore or carnivore) are made to need each other. Why is our American culture so funny about this? Maybe it’s because we value anonymity, appearance, and how we appear to others. Perhaps we are afraid of judgment, or we’ve been hurt and are so scared to trust again, so we prefer to do it on our own. We choose not to let others into the nitty-gritty of our lives, and it feels like a bee sting to humble ourselves and ask for help.
I enjoy working on a team, but let me clarify; I like working on a team that I CHOOSE. I’m picturing the college class where the professor announces some colossal group project and then proceeds to pair you up with random classmates. Inevitably, you get the guy who never shows up to class, the girl who is more into getting her MRS. than her B.A., and the one who has great intentions, but poor follow through. The “group project” quickly becomes “I’ll float the whole thing and you guys get an easy grade.” That’s not the “team” I’m referring to or encouraging here. I’m an adult now. I can pick my team! I can choose the people I will trust, bring into my inner circle, and do life with. I can find women that have characteristics that challenge me and help me grow. I can surround myself with people who are better than me at many things, but don’t carry that around like a badge of honor. And why would I do that? Because my belief about T.E.A.M. is that together, everyone achieves more…and more importantly, together, we become more (it just didn’t lend itself to a cute acronym.)
My ‘TEAM’, my ‘tribe’, the girls I huddle with on a regular basis, they remind me of my strengths when I forget. They sharpen me in the areas I need to grow by encouraging me to think and do what is in alignment with who I know I am to be. Their strengths, process, and ways cause me to think, rethink, and learn a better approach. Does it always feel as good as it does when your team scores a winning basket or hits the winning home run? Not at all. In fact, there’s a good dose of frustration and awkward mixed in. Change and growth doesn’t occur without a bit of frustration (which is usually just the feeling that acknowledges there are gaps between expectation and experience.) And let’s face it, growing brings awkward. I don’t have to tell you that. You all have the school pictures to prove it! My 3rd grade year was awkward; a mullet, teddy bear pin, and an awkward smile in my school picture. My 8th grade year was awkward. My 34th year, awkward. My last conversation, awkward. That awkward can be a beautiful process in the midst of a small group of trusted friends, your team. It’s not all about growing (although, that’s kind of one of my favorite topics.) I heard that this generation is one of the most over-medicated, anxious, depressed, in-debt generations that’s existed. It makes me wonder how many of those in that statistic have a team, a tribe? Do they have someone to sit with them when things are hard? Do they have someone who will believe when believing doesn’t feel possible? Do they have someone who will help hold them up when the strength has left them? I’m guessing that many of them feel utterly alone and completely hopeless. I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for my tribe, I might STILL be in a season of depression from years back. It wasn’t easy to let my “team” go to bat for me. It was even harder to let them see me bench myself. But, they rallied. They prayed. They came over. They walked through the valley WITH me. And today, I am better because of them.
Find your tribe. They may not waltz into your life. In fact, in my tribe, one came to me, and I went to the other three. I saw in them something I wanted to be around, and even something I wanted to be more of. I knew they’d be a person worth my awkward. I started the friendship. I can guarantee a girl is looking for her tribe too. She’s waiting for you! She needs you! Go find her, invite her to coffee, take the risk of being a little vulnerable, and let her into your life. You AND SHE will be better for it.
about the author…Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of four boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. “Fuel the body, mobilize the soul” is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1 or online at bit.ly/JamieBeeson
Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s July 2018 issue.
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