In 1990 I was 1 of 4 new members of the Notre Dame coaching staff. Head Coach Lou Holtz wanted us to become a closer group. He decided to take us to a retreat in Pecos, New Mexico. It was an Executive Team Building exercise and part of it was a full day's ropes course with a variety of team building exercises involved. The one I vividly remember is the telephone pole climb. To each staff member the degree of difficulty varied. Some flew up the pole and stood on the top without any hesitation. Others would get halfway up and make the decision they physically could not go any further and they would come back down.
My experience was an enlightening one about positve encouragement and teamwork. I easily made it to the top but because I am not very flexible I found it extremely difficult to pull my knee up and place my foot on the top of the pole to stand up. I kept saying, "I cant do it." My "teammates," standing at the bottom of the pole, kept yelling "you can do it, give it one more try." After about a half dozen "one more tries" I succeeded. I stood on top of the pole, successful.
I know this was an exercise I had to do myself, but certainly I did not do it alone. I only succeeded because of the positive encouragement of my teammates. To this day I remember it was the positive words of encouragment I received that allowed me to accomplish what I had convinced myself I could not. Encouragement is an exttremely powerful tool, enabling people to accomplish what they are not sure they can.