Jumanji Your Village

Jumanji Your Village

I know there is a lot going on we must take seriously right now, but the Jumanji memes are killing it these days.

Just last week (or seven weeks ago…I really don’t know anymore), upon hearing of the discovery of Murder Hornets in the USA for the first time, a friend posted a meme that won the internet for me that day: “Welcome to Jumanji, level five!” As my thoughts drifted to the Jumanji movie (the most recent two) and how the characters could strike their chest and a pop-up list detailing their extremely specific and somewhat hilarious strengths and weaknesses would be displayed for all to see, I began to ponder how helpful that would be if it happened in real life!

For example, one character’s strength is talking to animals while another’s weakness is cake. If I had a pop-up, it would say something like, “Strengths: paying attention to the details, meeting deadlines (except not writing deadlines for Velvet Ashes. I don’t meet those ever) and problem solving”. My weaknesses would say, “Indecisiveness, moodiness, and almond milk (haha! Discovered this during quarantine, by the way!)”.

 If my co-workers/friends/family could read my list and I could read theirs, it would simplify things a lot—especially in the beginning of the relationship. We had to learn these things the hard way, by observation and lots of time together.

One of my favorite things about overseas life is the built-in community called TEAM! The tricky part about teammates, though, is that they’re not only your friends and accountability partners, they’re also your co-workers and fellow villagers. There’s a lot of overlap in roles, and new teammates often come along at least once a year. The best thing you can do with your team from day one is discuss your strengths and weaknesses at length together as a part of team building. These discussions are priceless because, sadly, humans have yet to receive the strengths/weaknesses pop-up upgrade feature. Not only does it help people get to know one another, it also introduces some humility into the equation when we all admit at least one weakness to the group.

The best teams I’ve been a part of were quick to acknowledge one another’s strong points as well as shortcomings (in a loving way). Once that list is out in the open, the team knows how to best attack a problem together by allowing each other to operate in their strengths and lend a hand (or grace and patience) when dealing with a teammate’s weakness.

This also creates a situation where we all want to improve and overcome our own personality challenges instead of trying to hide behind them! If moodiness is one of my weaknesses, I can practice being less reactive to my moods. However, some weaknesses (like a peanut allergy or exploding if you eat cake) cannot be overcome. The team must adapt and accommodate such things for members of the group.

If you haven’t seen Jumanji, I encourage you to give it a glance and view it in terms of your own village’s approach to problem solving.

How would your life be different right now if you knew your coworker/spouse/teammate/family member’s strengths and weaknesses and they knew yours? Could you accomplish more together?

2 Comments

  1. Sarah Hilkemann May 22, 2020

    I love this way of thinking about our relationships and strengths and weaknesses! 🙂 I know it helped my team out SO much when we got honest about what we each brought to the table, both the good and the bad. It also helped us have language for when we got in difficult conversations or felt stuck, because then we could shift our perspective and be more proactive in that moment. Thank you for this, M’Lynn!

  2. Emily Jackson May 24, 2020

    I like picturing my teammates slapping their chests so we can view their pop-ups! It’s very helpful to remember that each person’s strengths and weaknesses can balance the whole team out. We all have characteristics and experience that aids the team just like we all have areas that we need help with. Not all of us can be invincible like Dr. Smolder Bravestone.

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