For those who are not familiar with the movie, it was based on the true story of the T.C. Williams High School football team, ‘The Titans.’ In the early 1970’s, a time of widespread upheaval in the United States, having a football team composed of young men, both blacks and whites, was not thought to be a wise move. It certainly was not considered a recipe for success.
The players and coaches, alike, had much to learn about the role of cohesiveness in overcoming adversity and shaping a winning team.
This is true in many scenarios, such as in the photo you see here, taken on a mission trip my husband was a part of, after tornadoes ripped through the state of Alabama. The men and women who were a part of this team came from differing backgrounds and each had their own thoughts about how 'best to do things.' One thing the team surely had to learn, as did 'The Titans' was how to work together as a cohesiveness unit in order to overcome the challenges faced at the time.
Our family developed a special fondness for the movie, ‘The Titans.’ It spoke to our hearts, at a time when we, too, needed to learn similar lessons about adversity and overcoming. In the summer of 1998, it was discovered that our youngest child had contracted Lyme disease. It would take the use of her legs for two years, ravage most of the systems of her body, cause incredible pain and take us all to places of deep isolation, before the road to recovery was firmly under our feet.
I, like some of the parents, coaches and players in the movie, could not honestly say that I thought we would survive as an intact family. Through much trial and tribulation, our family discovered some vital components for developing the kind of cohesive unit that could endure and overcome adversity.
Let’s look, first, at a few of the building blocks for cohesiveness.
In order to build cohesiveness, consider these 4 things:
1. You must look at YOUR role in things
2. Assess what needs to be done as a unit
3. Commit to doing what is needed for change
4. And then, Do it!
Let’s break it down a little further.
One of the key elements to fostering a cohesive unit of any kind is to look first at your role in the lack of cohesiveness and then get out of the way! Yep, you read that right. Often times when a lack of unity exists it’s because there is too much or too little happening. When the odds for survival do not seem to be in your favor, you may find a few of these elements present:
· Too many opinions that lead to isolation, rather than unity
· Too little overall planning or organization
· Too much complaining (not enough resolution finding!)
· Too little understanding of what cooperation looks like and the commitment required to be successful, or overcome the adversity
Does any of this sound familiar in the case of your challenges? It doesn’t have to be the kind of adversity that splits a nation, a football team or a family, but it will serve to destroy in one form or another if not addressed thoroughly.
If we look further at the four bullet points above, we can discover some action points to begin with:
1. After you’ve taken time to LOOK AT YOUR ROLE in the situation (and allow time for the other team members to do the same) then, it’s time to ASSESS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE in order to foster positive change.
2. In other words, GET STARTED ORGANIZING AND PLANNING your goals and strategies for success. Don’t rush through this step. It needs to be done together with others who are working toward a consensus. (NOTE: A tip for overcoming the overwhelming feelings that threaten to destroy progress, is to break down the changes to be implemented into more manageable pieces.)
3. STOP COMPLAINING and learn to tackle one thing at a time. Become active about DISCOVERING SOLUTIONS TOGETHER!
4. COMMIT TO KEEP AT IT TOGETHER until positive changes are on the horizon. Stay with what you have carefully constructed. You will be tempted, when things get tough, to quit or find a different route. Don’t do it! STAY THE COURSE!
You may have guessed by now that learning to work together is KEY to successful cohesiveness that becomes the glue to overcoming adversity.
A few last thoughts about some TREMENDOUS BENEFITS of cohesiveness.
As you learn to work together for solutions, one of the benefits will be less isolation and discouragement. Realizing that you are all in this together allows people to relax and be more accepting of one another’s differences, opinions and ways of doing things.
Working together for solutions allows each person to learn more about him or herself. Ultimately, as you get to know yourself and your partners (family or otherwise) you will gain the opportunity to build upon each other’s strengths (more about that in another post!) and work to overcome weaknesses.
Building a cohesiveness unit is the overall top tremendous benefit and the very thing you need to overcome adversity and to keep moving forward toward success.
I hope the tips shared here will prove to be helpful for you and will give you the added bonus of renewed confidence as you practice the steps outlined. When facing adversity of any kind, it is vital to recognize that we were never meant to overcome or function in a vacuum. Our best results will be reached when we learn to work and grow as a cohesive unit.