Pedram's stream of consciousness

Monday, May 21, 2007

Living on the edge

Last week I attended a Google off site workshop on leadership training in Santa Cruz. The workshop is called "Edge" and it was awesome. A group of 25 Googlers from around the company got a 2.5 day intensive course on personality types, leadership styles, group dynamics, etc. We formed teams and had to do a lot of exercises where we had limited time and/or information and we had to be able to work as a team communicate, coordinate, and execute a plan of action. All of the activities had very short time limits and most of them involved us being blind folded during the execution stage. It is funny to think they trained us for leadership by blind folding us... I guess they took to heart the saying "the blind leading the blind".

Recently I have been working on my ability to remember names and so I actively memorize the names of everyone I meet. I was pretty proud of myself because in the first 2 hours of the workshop I was able to memorize the names of all 24 other people in the workshop as well as the names of the 3 people who organized it. I also impressed a few people when I named everyone in the room :-)

The second to last day of the program we had an outdoor challenge that involved a bunch of obstacle courses which all involved heights. One of the obstacles was to climb up a 50 foot tall pole and balance on a bar stool on the top and then jump 10 feet out and hit a tether ball that is suspended in the air....I might have forgotten to mention to you that I hate heights. About a year ago I started rock climbing just to get over my fear but thinking about jumping off a 50 foot pole (even with a harness) scared me silly. But surprise surprise, I climbed the pole and once I got to the top I focused on standing up (which I did pretty well) and then as I looked out among the tree tops and realized that there was nothing but me, the ball, and a lot of air the entire world around me became still. Nothing else mattered, I wasn't thinking about yesterday, or tomorrow, or even 5 minutes ago, all I could think about was "There is a ball, there is you, and there is space in between you, remove the space". So in a leap of faith (no pun intended) I jumped up and out towards the ball and as I flew through the air I wasn't worried that my cable could snap ending my short but sweet life, all I was worried about was that I might not have jumped hard enough and all that effort would go to waste and as my anxiety continued to grow my hands made contact with the ball and just like that it was all worth it. When my team lowered me to the ground I was shaking because of all the adrenaline and I was so happy and proud :-)

When living on the edge sometimes the best thing to do is jump (up and out)!