There are so many great lessons we all learn from life. Some will be positive and some negative and some will have a greater impact on you than others. Earlier this year, myself alongside 36 others took on a challenge and rode a bike from Brisbane to Townsville to raise money for cancer research and the charity “Smiling for Smiddy”. After 9 days and 1600 kilometres I had faced many wonderful lessons. Here are the two biggest ones I took from the experience:
The Power of Teamwork
Teamwork is defined as the collaborative effort of a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. The challenge was probably one of the most powerful examples of teamwork I have seen to date.
The words Teamwork, Spirit and Mateship was our motto.
Our team was made up of 36 riders and 11 road crew and the goal was to ensure that everyone crossed the finish line. The group was a combination of extremely strong riders and less experienced ones like myself. No matter what level you were, we were all one team. Throughout different points, over the 9 days, we were all at different pain points and fatigue levels. After getting to know each other a little, it was easy to spot who was in a tough place, and if that was you, someone would always give you that tiny piece of reassurance that you were doing great and to keep going.
Certain sections were harder for some than others, but we all held together as a group and no one was left behind. The ‘Smiddy Hand of God” is a tradition amongst the ride and was in full force. This meant, when you were doing it tough, a team mate would rest their hand on your back to take the pressure off your legs for a little while. It was, at times, all you needed. At the end of every day, we racked our bikes and came together for the “Smiddy Huddle”.
We did three cheers for the road crew, riders and everyone at home battling the disease. This gave everyone a sense of satisfaction from the day, as we came together as a team. Slowly, across the group, the bond grew, and by the end, we were one very collaborative team who achieved our goal.
The Power of The Mind
The mind is one of the most powerful tools a human possesses. It can be used to obtain success or complete failure. This was definitely evident over the 9 days. It became apparent after the first few days that our bodies are much more capable of being pushed further than we think. It’s often our mind that lets us down. Our mental strength was definitely tested and if we did let our minds take over, we would have failed. I would have given up on day three if that was the case, as my mind was telling me, I was done and there was no way I was going to be able to complete the full 9 days.
Some moments were dark, and your mind took you to places you never thought possible (for me, at times, this meant singing nursery rhymes in my head). Some moments, you felt everything was working against you with roaring headwinds, rain, endless hills, blisters and a sore behind! These moments were tough.
We began to break down the days and celebrate every 5kms or 10kms completed. The small ‘wins’ gave us positive reinforcement and before you knew it, we rolled into Townsville and 1600kms was completed. What a rush that was.
In summary, these lessons, in both teamwork, and the mind, are very relevant to everyday life at work and also in our personal lives. When you see someone struggling or needing a hand offer your help. Give someone that piece of positive reassurance. Thank your team mates. Celebrate the small wins and successes you have. Don’t let your mind get the better of you. Your thoughts often become things. What a powerful experience those 9 days were!