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SHERI I’ve seen great talent stifled in cubicles day after day until the creative juices are sucked out of them.  They have so many rules and policies stuffed down their throats they feel strangled by the environment they’re in.  Yes, there’s the token ping pong table or Wii game but they know it’s a death warrant to be seen actually using these pieces of “time wasters”.  Is it any wonder that creative blocks become the norm?   At 2balance we’re determined to keep ourselves challenged, fresh, energized, excited, and ready to experience something new.  We can’t just say we are open to new experiences; we have to actually create them and experience them.  This is why we have our 2bChallenge.  Yes, it’s normal events for many but it’s always a new experience for us.  This week we learned how to operate a front-end loader.  We went from a wonderful lunch and learn at Hickory Hills Country Club with client Betsey Miller of 2B Organized and then headed over to another client Regional Ready Mix to learn something way, way out of most of the team’s comfort zone.  What did we learn?  We are fearless!

JACKIE Our last “2b challenged” was the scariest for me.  Shooting the gun was a pure adrenaline rush; riding the zip-line was exhilarating, but climbing into the cab of the massive (at least from my perspective) front-end loader was intimidating.  The controls seemed easy enough to learn – gas, brake, forward, reverse, a single lever to raise and lower the scoop.  Not so easy when that big machine started rolling.  My mind went blank and simple statements such as “pull the lever back” or “give it gas” sounded like a foreign language.  Our instructor, and one of our favorite clients, was there with us to show us how to work the machine.  He walked us through the process of operating the front-end loader and then stepped aside to let us try it alone.  Even though he told us we couldn’t hurt the machine, couldn’t roll over, couldn’t mess up, I was frightened.  I did it though.  Perhaps awkwardly and without much style, but I walked away without a single injury to myself, my team or the equipment. Victory!

The day of our challenge, we attended a luncheon seminar at Hickory Hills Country Club presented by another of our clients.  I went from lunching with the girls to driving a piece of heavy equipment.  It made me realize how diverse our clients are, how lucky I am to work with so many types of people and types of businesses and how much I love what I do.  I have been challenged every day since joining 2balance and it is a wonderful thing to reach beyond what you think you can do and find that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

KATE Our latest 2balance challenge had me strolling down memory lane recalling my youth for two reasons.  One, it was much like playing in a giant sandbox.  Two, my Dad was in construction and I was around construction equipment growing up – but Dad never let me drive.

After a quick lesson, we each had a chance to try out our new skills and gain a whole new appreciation for those who drive heavy equipment daily.  When I told Dad how much I enjoyed our latest adventure he said, “It’s in the genes.”

ANDREA When we pulled into Regional Ready Mix and saw all the big trucks, equipment and machinery, I knew I was already out of my element.  Sheri walked the team over to a monstrous tractor of some sort which she said was called a “front-end loader” and that we would each learn to drive and operate it.  Again, out of my element.  I was scared and uncomfortable and very nervous.  I shamefully do not know how to operate a lawn mower so how was I going to be able to maneuver a front-end loader that requires a ladder to get into it?   I watched Kate and Jackie take their turns but that did not help with my comfort level.  When it was my turn, I climbed way, way up and was given a lesson on how to drive but more importantly, how to operate the bucket.  My first few attempts were very nerve racking but then I started to feel more confident and actually enjoyed this challenge.  I went from fear, to comfort, to enjoyment in my accomplishments.  I realized how wonderful it can be to conquer a fear and to be out of your element.  This challenge was another reminder that we can learn new tricks and what a sense of confidence that comes with it.

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