Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

So, what is it that you believe in? Yourself? The people you have around you?  In our industry, it’s a bit of both. You have to trust in yourself and believe in what you’re doing (even if you have to fly by the seat of your pants).  At the same time, you have to have the trust of the team around you. Here at FLIRT, we work in teams daily.  They’re part of that unit that makes sure everything, from music to video, through beautiful staging and executive presentations, all the way to final walkout gets executed flawlessly.

When I was eight, I remember going to watch a family friend who was running the Chicago Marathon. There’s something magical about those events – the raw energy in the crowd, the excitement when you spot a loved one breeze by, and the cheers when a large group comes thundering down the street. It was as if all of the spectators came together to form a team with the sole focus of driving every marathon runner across the finish line.

Teamwork. They all had the belief that those runners would make it and they would do what they could to help get them there.

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As a lifelong team player, I have the tendency to say yes by default. So when I was presented with an offer to join a group of my fitness classmates to participate in a Tough Mudder, I jumped at the chance.  Spending an entire day conquering crazy obstacles with some wonderful people? I was all in.

I didn’t really think about what I had committed to until the next day. The ‘what-ifs’ started flooding my mind as I scanned through the obstacles on the website. What if I couldn’t make it up the inclined walls?  What if I couldn’t make it over the giant spinning blocks? Would I have to get out and shamefully walk around? I started to feel like I may have jumped the gun. I wasn’t feeling as confident as I had the day before. It felt like I was standing at the edge of a cliff, unsure about what was waiting at the bottom.

But I wasn’t doing this alone.  You see, one of the first things they tell you before you even begin the Tough Mudder is that every person you encounter on the course is your teammate. I would have that support from start to finish. Not only from the six other people I would be on the course with, but the hundreds of other people running with us.

I saw incredible support from the first obstacle to the last. Not only within our own group, but from every person on the course. If someone was struggling to get over an 8-foot wall, another runner would lend a boost to give them the lift they needed.  The massive crowd waiting for their turn at the bottom would cheer for them.  Another obstacle had people forming a pyramid against a steep wall to give others a hand to more people waiting at the top – some even hanging off the edge while others were holding them by their legs.

Our team had our own routine, too, as I’m sure others did.  We had the more experienced climbers in our group navigate the obstacle first, they were there to help us if we needed it, and we always helped the group behind us too.  We all had a role to play in order to maximize our collective success.

I think, at the end of the day, our success at the Tough Mudder was because of our trust in each other and the knowledge that everyone else had our backs, too.

That’s the long and short of it, though, isn’t it?  Having such trust in those around me, in my team, made me that much stronger as we trudged through mud, conquered the “Block Ness Monster” and made it across the finish line.

You can’t go out and do a Tough Mudder every week – but you can find yourself in a situation where you need to trust in the team around you every day.  Around here, we have a standing team meeting every week, we’re constantly brainstorming together, and we always have each other’s back. We’re on a team day in and day out in what we do.  We’re always there to pick each other up, or take an idea and run with it.

I’d imagine you can think of a time you were on a team where you felt that level of trust, too.

When we were on the last obstacle during Tough Mudder, to get across the finish line we had to slide down into a big pool of water.  All seven of us, exhausted from our two-hour trek across the course, linked arms at the top of this slide and shot down into the pool together.  Looking back at the pictures, we all had similar looks of pure joy, excitement and exhaustion.  We had done it. And before even getting to the showers, we were making plans about doing the full course in 2019.

It’s that adrenaline rush, the wave of pure accomplishment that you get after something you have been working so incredibly hard for comes to such a joyful conclusion.  For us at FLIRT, we have our celebrations whether it be after a big day in the office or the conclusion of an event we’ve been living and breathing for countless months.  But no matter what, whether it be crossing the finish line of a Tough Mudder, or that final walk-out song to close out an event, that look of accomplishment can always be found on people’s faces.  That accomplishment that you believed in yourself and in the team around you, and together you knocked it out of the park.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”


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