It seems fitting that my first column for The Rolla Daily News is about doing things for the first time.
Earlier this month, I went ziplining and walked along a cable wire about 30 feet up in the air both for the first time in my life.
No, I was not training for a reality show or the circus. I was attending a two-day retreat with nine other people as part of this year’s Leadership Phelps County class.
It’s funny to think back how the complete strangers who I drove down with in a van Sept. 12 to the Republic/Springfield, Mo., area for the overnight retreat were the same ones I relied on the next day as my belay team when I completed a high rope challenge course or who I got to know very intimately when 10 of us all had to stand on a small wooden platform with no one touching the ground. (Hint, some class members had to sit on others’ shoulders).
Together, we wrote the word “learn” using only strings attached to a piece of wood and marker and crossed three wooden platforms using only two different-sized wooden planks without touching the ground among other challenges.
And we all completed the tasks, each one of us. Not one of us gave up, even though no one persuaded us to complete a task. We all did it on our volition.
I was nervous driving over to the ranch that morning and I left with a feeling of such confidence that it’s hard to describe.
Even Tim Eberle, the ranch facilitator, told us that we had to experience it. He couldn’t teach us in a classroom that feeling we got when we completed a task.
I never thought I would go ziplining or be able to walk a wire cable up that high especially with my fear of heights, but I actually did it.
Teamwork, persistence, communication, support and having a plan or goal — these were the traits we noticed recurring as we took part in the rope challenge activities at Leadership Ranch.
Those characteristics also became apparent when we played the game, Zoom, the day before. In this game, we were each given two pictures but were not allowed to show them to our classmates. We could only describe them and had to put them in order so they told a story. It’s harder than it sounds.
What’s your color?
Another part of the retreat that took place closer to the ground was learning our true colors.
I am gold. What does that mean? I follow the rules. I’m traditional and responsible. I’m practical, sensible and dependable. I’m caring, concerned and cooperative. I like order and customs.
Page 2 of 2 - Gold people like myself love to plan and make lists. We are detail-oriented and rarely break the speed limit. We believe there is a right way to do everything. We have strong beliefs in policies, procedures and rules and are most comfortable in a formal environment.
Other colors, like orange, blue and green may perceive us as rigid or inflexible, too serious, resistant to change, system-bound, lacking imagination and predictable.
On our best days, golds are task- and structured-focused, direct but cautious, cooperative and obedient to rules. We respect authority and are dependable and reliable.
But I learned about the other colors, too, and what traits they typically have; knowing that can help me relate to them and understand their needs better.
And we have at least one of each color in our class this year, so it should make things interesting.
And as one classmate pointed out, our colors inadvertently or maybe subconsciously reflected the adjective we used to describe ourselves.
I was Punctual Paul. There was also Bubbly Beth, Daring Debbie, Portly Phil, Teaser Tracy, Defiant Dan, Brainstorming Brenda, Keeper Karen, Active Angie and Marky Mark.