Humbled by Mud and Monkey Bars – Leadership and Team Goals


Grab my hand.  The one that is outstretched and reaching to help you.  It‘s right there in front of you.  If you grab my hand I will help you up the stairs and over the support rail and into an above ground swimming pool filled with freezing cold water.  We will share this freezing cold water for about 4 minutes with 30 other people until we finally hear the sound of the gun.  Then we will fling our bodies over the support bar at the other end of the pool and begin our 5k obstacle course through rough terrain, lots of mud, 16 ft. walls, tractor tires and monkey bars, etc.

mud and monkey bars

Have you ever tried to communicate with mud or monkey bars?  No?  Why would you?  I never thought I would have the need for strong communication skills during my first obstacle course run.  I thought I would show up, suffer with everyone else and cross the finish line alone, like always.  However, I was humbled to find communication was key for our team to finish the race.


The gentleman who organized our team for this race made it clear we were starting as a team and finishing as a team no matter our different athletic levels.  We all agreed to a team finish.  I wasn’t really expecting everyone to stay true to their commitment.


As we exited the pool and started the run I was feeling pretty energetic.  We had completed a trail run for practice the two weekends before the race so I was ready for the rough, unstable ground.  We scaled the first four foot wall and I was still feeling strong.  Our team was together.


As we approached the first 12 ft. wall (that offered only a rope with knots as assistance in the ascent and descent) I started to feel a bit queasy.  I was sure my recent wrist surgery and weakness in my hand would not allow me to grab the rope tight enough to support my weight in the climb.  I was right.  Despite the constant encouraging words  of our team captain: “You can do it” “Just lean back and use the boards” I could not grab the rope tight enough for long enough.  I had to jump down mid climb and walk around the structure.  From the other side I cheered as my teammates climbed up and over the wall successfully.


We took off as a multi-generational team toward the mud pits.  We crawled through tubes and found ourselves chest deep in slimy mud and more freezing cold water.  We clawed our way to the mud summit only to slide down the other side into more mud, slime and freezing cold water.  No matter how slippery or difficult, there was always a teammates’ outstretched hand.  Either mine reaching to them or visa versa.


Even though I am a ranked duathlete and often on the podium, all of my team members that day were stronger than I was.  They were all very tolerant and patient with me.  I ran across the finish line with a perspective shift on what “team” communication really means.


If there is a strong leadership presence, in any situation, the team will succeed now matter how deep and slimy the mud.


If there is a strong sense of team (regardless of the generation), the number of angles and rungs matters not.  There is an amazing leader who is waiting to   guide us through.


When your well led team shares a common goal to success you will be unstoppable.  Let’s talk about how to achieve those leadership and team goals with Daily Habits to Grow Your Leadership Skills from 3Plus International


I am humbled by the role of both “Mud” and “Monkey bars.”




After witnessing the communication frustration of my own offspring, I decided to design a training program to help bridge the communication gap.  After much research, I am proud to announce “Communication Basics for Millennials and GenZ” has officially been launched into the academic market!


If you would like to know more about our programs please email me directly at


About the author: Kimberli Allen

About the author: Kimberli Allen

Kimberli Allen, Principal and Founder of Everything Webinar, LLC, is an international communication and presentation skills expert. She has acquired 20+ years experience as a corporate trainer, coach and entrepreneur (both virtual and in-person). Kimberli has designed numerous customized training programs, worked with such clients as Nike, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, and TAB Products, and personally coached thousands of clients in more than 32 countries. When Kimberli is not leading a training program or launching new products to enhance communication and presentation skills around the globe, you can find her competing in a duathlon or triathlon with her two daughters.