The second year, dreaded by all first years, has finally come to an end. Time to draw the balance. It literally was an eventful year.
The assessment for this year’s events module, Principles and Practice, was all about the event we had to plan. Our core group got together after the first week of the first semester and started brainstorming. That was the Run4Men’sHealth’s hour of birth. For the first time the twelve teams had to present their concepts in a video and only six events would be selected to go through. The remaining teams joined the groups, which’s events had been approved.
We had agreed that the perfect venue for our 5k run would be Hoolyrood Park in the backyard of the Edinburgh city centre. Fortunately the team managed to get the permission to host the event at this prestigious sight. However, short before Christmas our main sponsor unexpectedly pulled out, leaving us with a huge deficit in our budget. After the holidays we got together and came to the conclusion that we would have to scale down our plans, in order to be able to deliver a sustainable and realistic new event plan. This lead us to the idea of a sponsored walk for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day on March 18th.
In the end we succeeded and delivered a good event. The weather on the day was great and we worked together effectively and efficiently. The university was of great help, not only because we chose the footpath around the campus as our running route. If I leaned something this year, it was more about team work and group dynamics than anything else. I just started reading the book on successful and sustainable group management, ‘Tribal Leadership’, a couple of weeks ago. I could identify the different stages a tribe undergoes in our group and it made me realise how important a motivated and well lead team is, if you want to nail it. Having the methodological competencies to lead a team through rough times is a skill I will focus on in the future, because I believe that no matter how great, smart or intelligent individual team members are, changing the world for the better requires excellent team work.
Tony Hsieh, author of ‘Delivering Happiness’, calls them the 3 Types Of Happiness. He was not the first one to mention this theory of the different types of satisfaction, but his model is clear and easy to understand. It states that there are three stages of happiness, which are of different quality and have different degrees of satisfaction.
Working as a team and creating something together, resembles the third stage: being part of something bigger than yourself. According to Hsieh, people tend to start seeking happiness in stage one, pleasure, which is not sustainable. One ‘high’ does not last long, so one looks for the next and so on. This is often associated with consumption of material goods. When I was younger, one day I realised that there was always a thing I was saving money for. After having saved enough, I needed something new to work towards. Back then I already had a strange feeling that there was something wrong with that attitude, but it took me until now, to be able to name what I felt years before.
According to the authors of ‘Tribal Leadership’ living the ‘higher purpose’ is Stage 4 and 5 behaviour, which are the desirable forms of tribal culture. On the cover of their book it says ‘It’s a fact of life: birds flock, fish school, people “tribe.”‘ It requires courage and trust to give the term teamwork true meaning, but it will let you experience the highest stage of happiness. With the BigRedRun team I was not always happy along the way, but in the end we experienced true happiness, when we saw what we created together. And by the way, we raised about £500.- ($840.-) for Comic Relief, which will hopefully make a few children in need very happy as well.