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Season 3, Ep. 4: Fellowship of Suffering

As strange as it may be, research has shown that shared painful experiences actually promote stronger relationships, increased trust and willing cooperation. Can shared experiences then—both good and bad—bond teams together to create an environment for success?

Andrew Paul shares how the intensity of his Navy SEAL training fostered deep connection within his team—causing them to think less about themselves and more about each other. This shared experience of suffering formed a team of people who began to see each new obstacle as a challenge to overcome—together. Learn how you can apply this idea to your own team and build resiliency within your organization.

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(We use an audio transcription service so please disregard any errors below.)

Daniel Harkavy (00:00):

In one experiment. Researchers ask students to insert their hands into a bucket of water, to move a metal ball into a small underwater container for half the group, the water was room temperature for the other half. The water was ice cold painfully cold. In fact, the students who performed the painful tasks and those who perform the painless tasks showed no difference in positive or negative emotion. However, they did show significant differences in group bonding. In fact, the researchers found that sharing the painful experience, promoted stronger relationships and increased level of trust and more willingness to cooperate. Even if the participants were strangers. Now, while researchers seem to be able to get away with inflicting pain during these experiments, this isn’t an endorsement for you to start torturing your team, but both science and our experience show us that creating shared experiences can help bring people and teams together, especially if the experience is challenging or difficult. And if leveraged properly, these shared experiences can improve your team’s happiness, cohesiveness and effectiveness. I’m Daniel Harkavy. And this is the building champions podcast for the past 25 plus years. My team and I here at Building Champions have been helping top business leaders to improve the way they live and lead. Our goal for this podcast is to share stories and insights that will help you to become a better leader. And in this episode, we’ll explore the fellowship of suffering to better understand how leaders can create and leverage shared experiences to improve their teams.

Andrew Paul (01:55):

You know, there’s B.U.G.S.—basic underwater, demolition seal training, and it’s intense. You know, it’s meant to put a lot of pressure on an individual to see who really wants to be there, you know, and who doesn’t right. Who’s got what it takes to push through those hard times. But I mean, that’s one of the places where you see it right in the very beginning. I mean, it’s cold and it’s Sandy and the callus on your hands and on your head and you’re hungry. And you know, all these things are a lot of sleep deprivation. And, and through that, you know, if you hang on, you start to become closer, more connected to your brothers,

Daniel Harkavy (02:28):

Andrew Paul, in addition to being a Building Champions client, he also served in our armed forces.

Andrew Paul (02:36):

I’m a former Navy SEAL. I did a few deployments in my time on active duty and or the last two years, I’ve joined the team at echelon front as the chief of staff and leadership instructor, where we take the lessons that we’ve learned in the military and now approach solving problems in both business and life leadership for

Daniel Harkavy (03:00):

Andrew, his fellowship of suffering experience during his seal training, wasn’t just dunking his hands in cold water, but something a bit more intense.

Andrew Paul (03:10):

I remember, you know, time laying in the surf we’re, you know, kind of some of the things that they do, you know, you lay down just in the cold water. I mean, it’s like two inches of water and the waves are just sort of lapping up over your face to get the water coming in your face. And water goes out, the cold breeze comes across and you get cold and it’s supposed to be miserable. Right. But, you know, for those of us who were enjoying our times there, we would sort of, we’d be linked arm and arm with our other friends who have gone through training. And you kind of look over at one of your buddies and you just kind of start laughing and you know, and you’re like, this is awesome. I mean, awesome in a horrible way. But it’s that shared experience that you’re talking about. And it was like, most people would say this sucks, you know, but when you kind of look over at your buddy and it sucks so bad, you’re just laughing about it. You know, it isn’t so bad anymore.

Daniel Harkavy (03:54):

It’s where the term fellowship of suffering really finds its meaning. Those shared experiences that bring people in groups together often in challenging or difficult situations. And that’s one of the key ingredients needed to make the experience effective stress.

Andrew Paul (04:11):

The battlefield has a way of taking what would otherwise be sort of normal life experiences or human condition, but intensifying those things to a point where it brings a lot of clarity to the moment. And, you know, in battle when the bullets are flying and the is maneuvering, this becomes really obvious that you’re going to band together. You’re going to overcome this obstacle or beat this enemy together.

Daniel Harkavy (04:35):

Much like the experiment I shared at the beginning of this episode, where pain acted almost like a social glue to bring people together, shared experiences that carry a level of stress or challenge have a way of really accelerating the connection between people. The second key ingredient necessary to create a more impactful, shared experience is meaning the experience has to carry a certain amount of significance or weight to the people involved. And sometimes that meaning is personal, but often it can be found in identifying a common obstacle, a goal or a shared purpose that can bring the group closer together.

Andrew Paul (05:17):

I think that in, in some of these most challenging situations, those who start to see the challenge, whether it’s the instructors, when they’re going through training, whether it’s, uh, Al Qaeda in Iraq or ISIS, that you’re fighting on the battlefield, or, you know, just the thought of imminent pain or death or, or something like that, when you can frame it in a challenge that you can get through together with someone else, not everybody rises to that, by the way, you know, but the vast majority who do, and maybe it’s just a function of our training, those that make it through the training all perhaps maybe more wired for that than others. But when you come through that experience and you do start to see that challenge as something to overcome together, then there is tremendous power that comes from that.

Daniel Harkavy (06:08):

What could some shared experiences look like for leaders? You could start with a casual happy hour or a team dinner. These events do add value because they allow people to get to know each other a bit better and provide a lower level of bonding because they are both low stress and usually relatively low meaning you can add meaning by making the activity more personal to your team, think about activities. People enjoy and typically work hard at, in their off time to improve. For example, bowling, cooking, gardening, kayaking, or even learning to surf, but be careful of selecting activities that all of your team members won’t enjoy. I’ve got a few of those horror story of mistakes in some of my own team building past. So how do you amplify the meaning and stress and these types of activities consider adding an appropriate level of competition or tying in a greater purpose by involving a charity.

Daniel Harkavy (07:04):

This gives people a chance to engage in the activity while knowing that they’re doing meaningful work to benefit others and the power and impact of these shared experiences go way beyond bonding and bringing teammates closer together. They can also transform the way your team works together and ultimately improve the results you achieve together. How one way is through improving a team’s EEQ or emotional intelligence shared experiences, allow people to learn each other’s behaviors, reactions, norms, working habits, triggers, and emotional cues. All of which can strengthen their IQ and research has proven that teams with higher levels of IQ tend to perform better. These shared experiences can also strengthen relationships between team members and fuel higher levels of trust. Two key components for effective teams and shared experiences can drive that not just from the top down, but between team members as well. And those bonds can go along.

Andrew Paul (08:07):

Relationships are stronger than the chain of command. And when you have relationships and you have trust, you’re able to accomplish things faster and ultimately have a greater effect than if you don’t have a relationship, but relationships take time. It means you have to take time to get to know somebody. You have to find out what’s important to them. Then you can build that through a shared experience like we’ve been talking about here today. Well, just spending time with people, getting to know them, finding out what’s important to them, letting them know that what’s important to them is important to you because you actually care about them. And why do you care about them? Well, because you really are a human being who cares about someone who’s on your team. Not because there’s some sort of like, you know, this is the thing to say in order to get my team to work better together, you can’t be selfish if you’re selfish and you’re just focused on what’s in it for you and your bottom line, then that’s your ego. And that people can sense that, you know, that that, that comes across. Even if you say all the right things, people can get a sense that you’re not really there for them and for the team. So we’ve got to build relationships and we do that by suppressing our ego by showing people that we actually really do care.

Daniel Harkavy (09:16):

These benefits, we’ve been talking about improved DQ, stronger connection and higher levels of trust. They happen naturally when people on teams spend a lot of time together, but creating shared experiences can accelerate that process. And that’s true for the development of teams as well. Back in the 1960s, Bruce Tuckman, a Naval medical research Institute, fellow studying small group behavior in the us Navy created his now famous four step process teams follow and coming together, forming storming norming, and performing first teams forum coming together to understand the work that must be done. And what is expected of them. Team members are usually on their best behavior, but very focused on their own needs. Next they storm where the group starts to sort itself out and gain each other’s trust. As people start to voice their opinions and share their ideas, conflicts arise as individual needs clash with group needs.

Daniel Harkavy (10:20):

And as they work past this, the members norm, or really connect as a team and establish group expectations. This is when a spirit of cooperation and teamwork begins to truly emerge. Finally, they move into the final stage where the group is able to perform as they focus on common goals and process conflict and debate in a healthy manner leaders who strategically leveraged, shared experiences along this journey can help their teams move through the stages faster. And once formed and established, ongoing shared experiences can continually elevate a team’s performance. In fact, one study found an 18% increase in productivity in teams in which leaders fostered shared experiences. And the benefits can be long lasting, sometimes even extending beyond the original group, depending on the strength of the shared experience.

Andrew Paul (11:17):

And it continues to this day, by the way, even to a point where, you know, if I find out or hear or introduced to, uh, another veteran, you were served with them or not, I mean, could be some men never even served with, and I find out that they’re suffering through something. I feel a need, even though I didn’t know them, even I’d never trained with them or served with them, I feel compelled to, to just to, Hey, how can I help you? You know, I’ve been through this too, you know, or, or, or just to, even if it’s just to be, uh, an ear to listen to, or, or just to let a fellow veteran know that they’re not alone, there’s other people out there struggling with the same maybe doubts or second guesses about what they could have done or should have done differently. And I think when you know that you’re not alone, I think there’s tremendous power in that

Daniel Harkavy (12:03):

The greatest benefits of shared experiences, they can take a group of individuals, sometimes strangers, sometimes even foes or adversaries at first and create an environment that transforms them. It creates a bond that allows them to connect in a new way, causing them to think less about themselves as individuals and more about each other. The team add an element of stress combined with meaning and a shared goal or purpose. And the power of that experience becomes even stronger. That element of suffering can lead others to want to stretch and sacrifice.

Andrew Paul (12:44):

The word passion comes from the Greek root word Paseo, which means to suffer. So when someone says, Hey, what are you passionate about? Really, if you go back to the etymology of the word, it really means what are you willing to suffer for? So I think as a leader, we connect those two things and we understand what the word suffering means and that it comes from the word passion. I think our job as leaders is to help our teams see what our purpose and our mission is. And to be passionate about our mission, because when you’re passionate, you’re willing to suffer. You’re willing to put up with the inconveniences, with the mundane day-to-day tasks, with the setbacks and the challenges and the frustration, the last deal, the client went to someone else you’re willing to suffer because you’re passionate about the mission and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Daniel Harkavy (13:45):

Coming up. We’ll sit down with some of our building champions, executive coaches to discuss some practical steps you can take to apply this concept to your teams and organization.

Todd Mosetter (13:57):

Hi, my name is Todd Mosetter. I’m an executive coach and vice-president here at building champions. And for the second half of the episode, I’m excited to sit down with coach Adam Brantley, Adam. It’s great that you’re here because I know you as a coach, but the first time I met you actually was in a fellowship of suffering experience. Oh my gosh. Yes, it was. So the first time I got to spend time with Adam and his wife, Mandy was actually at hood to coast. So for those of you that aren’t familiar, you do something crazy, which is what most good things are built on. You hop in a van with six sweaty people and drive from Mount hood to Timberline. But the funny thing is that experience that suffering helped me get to know Adam even better. Yeah, it was a, it was quite the experience. I was, I was pumped to come out there and being from the East coast, I was excited to see a different part of the country. Um, I knew I was going to spend a lot of fun time, uh, lots of time in the van with people that I didn’t know. But, um,

Adam Brantley (14:52):

Man, it turned out to be one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever done. I went back, I came back out the next year for round number two and uh, I’m uh, looking forward to future trips because even though it was suffering, it was a ton of fun.

Todd Mosetter (15:04):

So Adam, when we think about that experience, that fellowship of suffering that we endured together with hood to coast, unpack it for me a bit. Why do you think it was so meaningful to have that shared experience?

Adam Brantley (15:15):

Well, it was, it was just a, a change of pace for me. I mean, coming out to the West coast, experiencing new new terrain, new beauty was, was great. Um, it heightened my senses and, and then being thrust into a, a van with, with virtually no sleep and a bunch of sweaty people. I didn’t know. My, uh, my, my curiosity was peaked, um, about those people. And really my antenna was just up to experience new things. Yeah.

Todd Mosetter (15:48):

I love that. Adam, when we think about what can make a fellowship of suffering a shared experience, more impactful, right? Like Daniel talked about it’s those two things, stress and meaning. And what I loved about the hood to coast experience with you as it had both, right? The meaning was we were doing something different and exciting that not everyone does. So it felt like an opportunity and the stress level was heightened because like you said, lack of sleep. What I loved about you, especially in that experience was your heart. So there’s this moment of stress. We’re all doing something hard and your true character shines through. And for you, we got to see how you loved on the people in the van, how you still kept that positive energy, the way you cared for your wife who was with us. I remember the one year she had a bit of an injury and you volunteered to, to run with her, even though you were already tired, that meaning and stress, it sharpened some people and some people will a little bit, you shined in it and the ability to see your true character in that moment made me feel closer to you.

Todd Mosetter (16:48):

Hmm.

Adam Brantley (16:49):

Yeah. I didn’t even realize that. Honestly. I didn’t, you know, I, I think you’re you’re right though. I mean, when the pressure’s on you can’t hide behind anything, right. Like you just show up and do your do your thing, but it also, um, there’s an element, um, of it that was really fun for me. Right? Like, I mean, being able to engage in that sort of way, um, whether it be my van mates, in addition to running those legs with my wife, which I had so much fun with her doing that. But one of my favorite memories of that was being able to hop out of the van and cheer the people on that are coming for the Baton switch. Right. Because you’re there. And you know, this person is either tired because of lack of sleep or tired because they’re running hard or they just had a run, a tough run and here they are coming in and all the bandmates are out and cheering people on and then the Baton gets tossed. And if it’s not to you or passed on, you get to kind of put your arm around that person and Hey, what do you need? Right. Like food, water, just rest can kind of you out, whatever it is. And, uh, I don’t know. It was just, uh, it just, uh, a lot of fun.

Todd Mosetter (17:55):

Yeah. You make, it makes me think, Adam, that there’s this, um, there’s this truth that I think we often don’t want to admit that is so much of our lives. We add things onto ourselves, right? We, we almost take on a coat that we want to act a certain way around certain people, because whether we think it’s acceptable, whether we think it’s because the, like us more, whether it’s because of social pressures, but you get into those moments of stress and challenge and all that facade kind of just melts away and the person that you truly are tends to shine through. And we know that that sense of belonging when you feel like you can truly know someone, you feel closer to them, which helps you trust them more. And these shared experiences, they have a way of just doing that. Don’t they?

Adam Brantley (18:37):

Yeah. Oh my gosh. They, they absolutely do. Um, you know, I, I think about the, when I was, uh, running next to Mandy in that, in that trip, um, you know, she, she had, we’ve been married, I guess probably four or five years at the time. And so there was a lot of trust built up, but even like her seeing me come beside her and run with her, the conversations that we got to have, it really stripped our relationship down even more so that she, you know, there was a deeper connection there.

Todd Mosetter (19:11):

Yeah. That’s the funny thing about suffering. We, uh, we expose ourselves in a way that helps bring us closer together. We’ve been talking a lot about a personal side because it was the way that you and I first got connected, but the applications to business leaders are huge as well. Your experience early on, I know you shared some stories of how this concept helped you both as an employee and as a leader. Can you unpack some of those forests?

Adam Brantley (19:36):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I know for, just from my own, my own personal experiences being a, before I was an owner of the restaurant, I was a leader in a restaurant and man talk about a band of brothers or a band of brothers and sisters there. Our daily grind day in and day out was so intense and so stressful that the only way we could survive it truthfully was by, by coming together and, um, being a tight knit group. But it wasn’t just like survival of the day. It was, Hey, we have a common purpose here, right? Like we are here not just selling more food, but we are here to impact lives, um, to have a positive influence. And, um, that’s what the rallying cry was for us every day, which helped us to get in and be there for each other as we work shoulder to shoulder, you know, I connect that to one of, uh, a restaurant leader that I work with now.

Adam Brantley (20:39):

Um, as a current client of mine, she has a tremendous leadership team. So still within this restaurant space, right. But small business, she’s got this really dynamic and healthy and vibrant leadership team. And by the way, they’re really young. They’re all under the age of 30. And most of them rent like the 22 to 25 range. And one of the cool things, they are extremely effective in high capacity and high performing leaders, even at that young age. And one of the things for her that she has done so well, it’s not just that daily grind that I’d talked about inside the restaurant in that shared experience, but she takes her team off site. Often they will do beach trips. They’ll do planning retreats. Um, they do quarterly get togethers, like she’ll, she’ll have a chef come in and teach everybody how to do sushi rolling.

Adam Brantley (21:33):

Or some of it is very intentional with business results and planning, um, goal setting. Um, but some of it’s just have fun and get them together. And, and that has created this really, really tight knit group that you’ve got the suffering on one hand inside of the business. And then you pull it out in an environment that typically an owner, uh, and that situation would not think about, Oh yeah, let me go and pull this group of leaders out to a planning retreat, but it’s, it’s formed this bond with them. That’s really, really, uh, impacted.

Todd Mosetter (22:07):

Yeah. And I don’t, I don’t want to miss something that you said there for folks that are listening is you said some of it’s intentional and focused on business. And some of it’s just fun. I would argue that it’s all intentional for her, right? It’s sometimes there’s a direct line to business and sometimes it may be what an outsider may think is a dotted line. But my feeling is that this leader you’re sharing has a deep belief that if her team knows each other trusts each other, enjoys each other, that their performance will improve and too many leaders miss that piece. I think they think that we’re these cogs that can just slide into a little machine and do our roles, but we know that’s not true when we like the people we do work with when we feel like we’re in it together, that common purpose, that’s where we get that ancillary effort that comes when things get hard. Do you do just what’s expected of you or when things get hard, do you rise up? Cause you know, people are counting on you and you’re working toiling for a common purpose.

Adam Brantley (23:05):

Oh, absolutely. You know, I think at the core of it, the core principle or the core value core conviction, that’s there is this idea of valuing both results and relationships. Right. You’ve got it’s the both end. Right. Um, and, and this leader that I work with, she’s extremely intentional, right? Whether it is a very specific planning meeting, um, retreat, or if it’s just for fun, the fun isn’t just for fun, right? It is. But that she knows that that’s going to be a piece that brings the group closer together that builds stronger bonds, uh, stronger relationships. The trust is going to go up through the roof with our team because of that, ultimately building an extremely strong culture. Um, and that’s, that’s, you know, when I talk to her, she’s constantly talking about strong culture, strong culture, and, and that’s how she does it.

Todd Mosetter (23:58):

And for so many leaders, they give lip service, I think to culture. And I don’t mean that in a mean way, but they say, Hey, culture is important and they have some values on a wall, but not every leader is willing to make the investment of time and effort. Like you just shared that this leader is, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that she’s getting great results because of it.

Adam Brantley (24:17):

Oh, absolutely. You know, that’s one of the interesting things about this idea of shared experiences is that it is intentional and it’s an investment of time. But the cool thing is, is it’s actually a really small amount of time that has really long payoffs, right? Whether we’re talking about hood to coast, where I met you and a relationship is forged and bonded, that has long-term payoffs, or we’re talking about, you’re taking a team off to a retreat, investing a few days of time and resources that have years of impact, right? I mean, just it expedites and speeds up that whole process.

Todd Mosetter (24:55):

Yeah. If you think about relationships, whether it be in business or life, and we’re talking about shared experience as a way to accelerate them, it really seems there’s three big buckets that need to be present. You touched on, on all of them, but let’s just call them out. So we’re all clear. You have that common purpose, right? Any relationship there needs to be something that’s bringing the people together in business. It’s a common purpose in life. It’s, you know, love relationship family, but some reason that causes the people to want to be together, it then is time. We just know it’s true. The more time you spend with someone, the deeper, the relationship gets positive or negative, depending on, on what your perspective is. But, but time, and then quality the depth of the conversation, the relationship and the experience. You can be acquaintances for a long time, not really talking about impactful things, not sharing a common purpose, and the needle’s not going to move much. You’ll just be better acquaintances. But if you spend time together and have difficult conversations, sharing true beliefs inside about what you think, if you’ve got common purpose time and quality, those three things I think are paramount, shared experiences are a way to almost throw them into a microwave. And in a shorter amount of time, to your point, you can accelerate the payoff of those. I know you’ve shared some stories, both in your personal life and business life where you’ve lived those out. Can you help us understand that better from your perspective?

Adam Brantley (26:22):

Yeah, well, from, uh, from what I get to do now, um, uh, you know, sitting in the coaching seat, you know, I have the opportunity with some of my clients to do, uh, in-person days, right? Like most of my coaching is, is done over the phone, which is great. Uh, lots of impact is able to happen there, but for a handful, my clients I’ve been able to actually initiate the coaching experience, live with them. So I go and spend a full day getting to know who these people are like, what makes them tick? What are their passions? What are they hungry for? Both in their personal life and in their professional life, right? What’s the vision that they have for their team or their organization. And I’ll tell you that those relationships that I have with those clients, it jumps off to a much faster, much more impactful experience right out the gate than when I’m over the phone. And it’s because of that shared experience, like we’ve, we’ve been together for an entire day and really gone deep, pretty fast.

Todd Mosetter (27:25):

There’s an, uh, something about the downtime for lack of a better word. You know, I think in, in as we’re recording this, many of us are still adapting to a more virtual world and there’s there’s pros and cons to it. But I think one of the things that we miss most is that downtime, right? If you came in for an event with us, there’d be structured meetings, but you’d have the five minute conversation before and after. You’d have the 10 minutes in the break room where you’re grabbing the cup of coffee. You’d have the couple of minutes when you’re waiting at the copier, those moments while we may have taken them for granted before sometimes that’s where the real connection happens. So I think what you’re talking about is when we coach folks and we’re in a session, it is super impactful, but there’s also these arbitrary barriers at the beginning and end, the session starts here and the session ends here. Whatever that duration of time is when you get that live day, you have more space to allow conversations to meander a little bit. And what I found in my experience is sometimes in those moments, that’s when the real nugget, the real question, the real thought the real perspective, because when you try so hard to discover something, the moment you stop trying some hard, that’s when the Eureka moment happens so often.

Adam Brantley (28:41):

Mm yeah. Oh, that is, that is absolutely spot on. You know, it also made me think about what we call our experience, right? The building champions experience. And, um, I’ve seen that for me personally, but I’ve also seen it for the teams that are there. So we, we host this experience where I’ve been able to come out and engage with clients, engage with teams, engaged with our building champions, my peers, and it’s the meetings and the conversations and the structured time is fantastic. But really the meat of it is all the in-between stuff. The walking to the meals, or standing in line for a meal or walking between sessions or going between cabins or rooms, like you end up just having some really deep conversations there, um, that that would not normally happen in any sort of structured meeting environment.

Todd Mosetter (29:32):

Yeah. So true. And speaking of our experience, I know you and I have talked about this topic before. We’re very intentional that we often will give an opportunity for our clients, these, to get together, to run in the morning, we’re walk. And, and to your point, it’s not part of the official agenda that happens from eight 30 to four, there’s this optional opportunity. And I know for me personally, and I think you’ve shared some of those conversations on the run have been equally as impactful as anything that we planned.

Adam Brantley (30:00):

Oh, don’t, don’t tell anybody, but the runs and my favorite part of the experience, um, you, you, you, you’re outside, uh, you’re, you’re working hard, right? I mean, even if you’re walking, right, but it’s still like you’re doing something active, uh, your brains firing in a different way in all, always the idea of those runs is that you’re shoulder to shoulder with somebody else you’re, you’re, you’re talking about something. Maybe it was about the session from the previous day or something. They were talking about over dinner the night before, or you catching up on their family. The chairman talked to this person in the last year, but yeah, those runs are my favorite part of it. And whenever I come out to Portland for our summits, that’s always an intentional part of the trip for me is that they’re not planned before we get there. But when we get there, it’s like, Hey, when’s the run going to happen? You know? Cause that’s our time that we know is really fun and impactful and intentional.

Todd Mosetter (30:51):

Yeah. I think there’s some good nuggets that we don’t want to miss in there. We’re out in a different environment. We’ve talked about this, right? Mark Batterson says change of place. Change of pace equals a change of perspective. So whether it’s the experience, whether it’s a decos, whether it’s a run, you’re engaging with people in a different way. There’s also the sense of, of effort, right? You’re running, whether you’re a great runner or a bad runner, there is some more effort versus just sitting and have a conversation like we are. Now when we’re putting effort out our brains engage different, right? We have chemicals running through us or our adrenaline’s up a little bit. And our ability to talk while huffing and puffing for many of us, it’s weird. It opens you up a bit. Now, by no point we’ve been talking a lot about shared experiences before we end.

Todd Mosetter (31:34):

I don’t want to miss this point. When we talk about the fellowship of suffering, we don’t want you to torture your teams. So we’re not saying, Hey guys, find the most horrible experience possible and put your team through it. Cause you’ll be closer. But there is this idea of healthy stress. It needs to be hard enough and challenging enough that you feel like you’re overcoming something like you feel like you’re working hard because like we talked about there’s different dynamics physically and mentally that happen. I know from an experience you’ve shared with me before, you’ve seen firsthand how inexperience can be done one way, add a little extra level of suffering and the results change a bit. Don’t they?

Adam Brantley (32:13):

Oh yeah, absolutely. I went with a group of men. There were about 12 of us that went out to the Colorado wilderness a handful of years ago. And we spent seven days out there. We hiked in, we set up base camp and we leveraged that and did little excursions kind of throughout the day. And it was, it was a fantastic trip. The trip was extremely intentional. It had purpose behind it. Um, ultimately were there to connect and deepen our personal relationship with who we are as individuals and how we were created, but also, uh, with each other within this group. And that purpose was successful. And we had have stronger relationships today because of that, that trip. The next year, a different group of men went out and did a similar experience. But instead of setting up a singular base camp every single day, they went out and had an extremely strenuous hike.

Adam Brantley (33:13):

They were backpacking, they were moving constantly. And so, you know, you were going anywhere from 12 to 15 or 16 miles a day of really tough hiking, um, out in Montana. And uh, by the end of the day, they would get there and they dropped their packs and they were exhausted. And the level of stress was out. The effort was up. Um, when they sat around the campfires at night, the level of engagement that happened with so much deeper, more raw, more vulnerable. So their purpose of that trip was accomplished just like ours was you look at the two different groups. Now today, several years later, um, trip number two, fostered, deeper relationships, deeper connection. They actually still get together on a regular basis to connect about life and challenges and successes they’ve had. Whereas group number one, still good friendships, still lots of respect, but we’re not getting together anymore. Right? So two different experiences, the stress level, the strenuous, the effort level was different. What happened was a deeper relationship, deeper trust and trip. Number two than trip. Number one that had longer term impact and payoffs.

Todd Mosetter (34:24):

Yeah. It’s funny to think about, but we’ve seen that in our lives, the, the right amount of suffering and sacrifice, right? Like Andrew talked about that word, passion comes from it. Uh, it makes you want to just, um, just changes. I think that the value of the experience a bit before we close at building champions, we think better humans make better leaders. So this doesn’t just have professional applications. It has personal ones. We talked about that ability to be intentional, a change of pace, change of place, change of perspective. I know for many of us in our home lives, even in the reality we live in now, there’s a lot of opportunity to be distracted by activities, by a technology and being able to unplug and being intentional about creating shared experiences for your family can have a great impact as well. I know the Brantley’s have had good success with that. What can you share Adam?

Adam Brantley (35:12):

Yeah, yeah, we have, I mean, that’s, uh, Mandy, my wife and I try to be as intentional as possible with how we spend our time with our two boys. So we have two boys that are 13 and 10 and something. One of the intentional elements that we’ve built into our family dynamic and rhythm is for the past four years, we go to family camp and it’s a ton of fun, but, um, but there’s also a lot of intentionality to it and it’s become a week of our year that we won’t miss it’s, uh, it’s fun. I there’s activities of zip-lining or, or going out in a boat or swimming in the Lake or playing basketball or they’re activities that bring us together. There’s time for us to connect as a family and just have conversations that we don’t normally have. But there’s also, um, there’s also just space that’s created, right?

Adam Brantley (36:06):

It’s it’s, it is not our normal routines and rhythms and, and that space we’ve actually come to really cherish it recharges, you know, a lot you’ve mentioned personally, like, yeah, we, we talk a lot about and think a lot about like, Hey, I need to recharge my batteries or, you know, put more fuel in my tank or take care of myself. But even like our family dynamic needs that, right? Like we’re constantly on the go and to take family camp away, take that time away and go to family. Camp is, is a time for our family to recharge and reconnect and refuel. And it’s just created, I think an element of depth, um, and conversation in our family that would not be there otherwise. So it’s something that I see us doing for many years to come.

Todd Mosetter (36:53):

I love that you guys have been able to create that tradition and seeing the impact of it. And I’m thanks so much for taking time out. We touched on a couple of things, the big ones being that these shared experience bring us closer together, but I think your stories and experience have really helped me understand better. It takes time, right? At least things just aren’t going to happen by accident. It takes purpose. Why am I doing it? And it takes a deep belief that it matters because in life it’s so easy to skip family camp one year or not have time to go with the buddies on the walk or on the adventure, or as a leader, I don’t have time to pull my team out to plan or to connect or have fun businesses in front of us. But if you have a belief that shared experiences are going to build trust, and that trust is going to fuel relationship and it’s about relationships and results as leaders, this is when we just can’t miss.

Adam Brantley (37:41):

Oh, absolutely. You can’t miss it. The impact of these shared experiences is undeniable and cannot be missed. Um, Todd, thanks for having me, man. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Todd Mosetter (37:53):

My pleasure. And I’m glad you and I got one more shared experience here in the podcast. Thanks so much, Adam. Yep.

Adam Brantley (37:58):

My pleasure.

Daniel Harkavy (38:03):

Thanks so much to Andrew, both for his service to our country and for sharing his experience, to help us to better understand the fellowship of suffering. As a reminder, you can listen to other episodes and access relevant tools by visiting building champions.com forward slash podcast. And we’d love it. If you’d share the podcast and leave us a rating and a review in your Apple podcast app, doing so helps people find us and it helps us to learn what we’re doing well, and we can continue to grow and provide our listeners with content that will truly transform their lives and leadership.