LIFE APPS: Who do you need to create YOUR perfect (life’s) team?

Being thoughtful and intentional about who you invite to be on your life’s team is an important key to creating the life you really want. And when you have the right people in place, you can pull through your time on the planet with power, beauty and grace.

Last weekend, some amazing people joined me for our August Secret Adventure for Courageous Women. Part of the fun on each of these trips is trying to guess in advance what we might get to do, and this group had all kinds of ideas. :) Some thought we were going kayaking or rafting. A couple thought we might be going para-sailing or maybe to a zip-line over water.

Now THAT’S an idea! 

Apparently, by the time we crossed over the bridge into Oak Ridge, a few of them began to figure it out. :)

We were on our way to the headquarters of the Oak Ridge Rowing Association, a nationally recognized venue for the Olympic sport of sweep rowing and sculling. There we were treated to a special class in this beautiful, graceful art.

I’ve always wanted to try this.

Watching it on the Olympics, I’ve been mesmerized by how quickly those long, thin boats cut through the water, how beautiful the graceful, rhythmic sweeping of the oars looks as they move together down the river.

So – I contacted ORRA and asked them to consider hosting a Secret Adventure, and they were happy to have us!

Working under the firm but friendly tutelage of former Lady Vol Star, Coach Rachel Dooley, our group learned everything from what it meant to “set the boat” to how to fix it when that gosh darn oar ended up behind you for pete’s sake.

She was a great teacher. And this was an OUTSTANDING group of women, who pulled together so well, caught on so quickly, that they were able to go much farther, much faster, than a typical beginning team.

I now know this to be true. At Coach Dooley’s invitation, I returned the next day to sit in on another Learn to Row class, and – though they did their best – they didn’t go anywhere NEAR as far as our group did.

Yep, I was proud of that.:)

 But these trips don’t come together by accident.

And they aren’t JUST for fun.

One key to the success of each Secret Adventure is the connection among the group that forms for that particular day. I’ll have to say that I have something to do with making sure that works. :)

But another is the discussion we hold afterwards when we look at ways to apply today’s experience to the rest of our lives.

We didn’t really get to do that the way I like, this time around, due to a visit by Knoxville News Sentinel Reporter Terry Shaw at the end of the day. He wanted to hear from everyone about their experiences and that took some time….though I think the group completely overwhelmed him with their enthusiasm. :))

So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here, instead.

We’ll call this Life Applications from the Art of Rowing.


Rowing is beautiful when it works. It’s funny, awkward and downright frustrating when it doesn’t. Isn’t life like that? So what does it take to create the Perfect Team in your own life, a team that works?

Here are four critical components to a positive, effective team.

1. MEMBERS you can TRUST. To those who went on the trip, how did it feel to come along with me when you didn’t know where we were going? What did it take to trust me to keep you safe or ensure a good time?  Were you able to trust each other in the boat? Did that feeling grow any stronger over the course of the day? Why (or why not)?

How about in your real life? What does it take for you to feel like you can trust someone else? What do they need to do to earn and deserve your trust?

Do you surround yourself with people you trust? Do you distance yourself from those you don’t?

 2. Members with POSITIVE ENERGY. What kind of energy did Coach Dooley bring to the table? Did that help? During the day, what happened when someone struggled or needed a hand? I noticed several of you reaching out to help one of your sisters when she needed it. Did that help your own energy level?

How about in your real life? Are there people around you who bring criticism or doubt? If so, how does that effect your own sense of well being?

On the other hand, are there people in your life whose energy lifts you up? Think of ways you can actively seek out those who ADD to, not drain, your energy.

 3. Members who give EQUAL EFFORT. Whose weight are you pulling? And who’s pulling yours? When is it okay to stop and let someone else take a turn? (and vice versa)? In rowing, we often worked in pairs or fours, allowing different parts of the team to rest (and provide balance, or stability, to the boat).

How about in real life? Are there times when you’re pulling everything all by yourself? Do you stop every now and then, get some rest? Let others pull for a while? Or do you feel like you always have to be the one that’s doing all the work? That’s not team work, and it’ll wear you out.

4. (Reliable) LOOK OUTS & GUIDES.  When we’re rowing, we’re moving backwards through the water, while trusting the coxswain (“cox-un”) to guide us true. When we’re learning a new skill, or perfecting an old one, we look to a coach to lead the way.

So who warns you, guides you, teaches you?  You may be led by mentors, guides, teachers, friends. Or you may be led by intuition, Spirit, faith. But it seems to me, that those who are not willing to be led forward when appropriate, will never move forward for very long.

I may share some additional observations in my next post.

In the meantime, what do you think?

What do YOU need to create your perfect (life’s) team?





Photo Credits: Wendy Pitts Reeves

& Chloe Potter




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