The weekend started with the best of intentions. Eight boys, three adults, and a ton of stuff crammed into a â€œtoy haulerâ€ trailer for an exciting Boy Scout adventure in beautiful Pine Mountain, Georgia. We were given Pioneer site 3, and it was situated at the bottom of a sharp incline. After some initial investigation we decided to pull the trailer into the site and maneuverer it into a selected space. It wasnâ€™t too long before we realized that the van with the trailer attached was forty feet long and there simply was not enough room to turn.
After several failed attempts at getting the trailer back up the muddy incline we realized that we were stuck. The jack broke. The assembly jack-knifed and became lodged in a ridiculous contortion between various trees. Did I mention that we were stuck? Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, trying this and then trying that. Minutes turned into hours and our initial excitement was turning into aggravation and frustration.
With night closing in we decided to just take a break, cook dinner, and start fresh in the morning. After breakfast, we managed to dislodge the van from the trailer, get the van unstuck from the mud and it was decided that I would go to the registration office and ask for help. The consensus was that surely this was not the first time that this had happened.
Two very helpful maintenance men appeared with a 4×4 truck and a backhoe. With a gentle nudge the trailer was repositioned and pulled to the top of the hill by the truck. Hurrah! This nefarious event reminded me of an important principle in leadership â€“ know when to ask for help. Often times leaders refuse to ask for help because of pride, feeling that since because they are the leader they have to solve the problem, or not taking time to rethink the situation or problem. The following are some things to consider as you face a jack-knifed trailer, a van stuck in the mud, and a Boy Scout Troop staring at you.
- If at all possible stop â€“ walk away and take some time to think. If you keep working a problem when you are tired, hungry, and irritable you may only make it worse. If we had kept trying to get the van and trailer out it would have only gotten even more entrenched in mud.
- Go to the Experts â€“ The registration office at Pine Mountain state park were extremely helpful. Later in the day when one of the boys twisted their ankle they sent an EMT to look at it and gave us some great advice. The maintenance men with their tractor and truck had the situation handled in a matter of minutes. Sometimes it is better to let go of a situation and let others help you. Is there someone you can call, an expert to ask? Whatever the situation may be, you are not the first people to be dealing with it. Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.”
- Others Are Counting on You to Make the Right Decision. Bad decisions are apart of being human. If you lead for very long you will make a bad decision. But experience and wisdom should give a leader far more good decisions than bad. Those who are looking to you for leadership are expecting you to make the right call (and everyone knows that you are not perfect and will make mistakes from time to time.) Make sure that you are not making bad decisions because you do not want anyone elseâ€™s advice. If you limit a resource available to you because of your own pride, then you are not only making things difficult on yourself, but on those you lead as well.