Try This At Home – Build a Boat


“Well I built me a raft and she’s reading for floating…”

- from Black Water by the Doobie Brothers

If you’ve enjoyed our Return of the Titanic Boat Build team building program and want to take the fun home to your kids, here are some hints to help you on your quest.

Archimedes, Betty and Veronica
Buoyancy (a good thing for a boat!) is governed by Archimedes Principle. This Principle states that any body completely or partially submerged in a fluid (gas or liquid) at rest is acted upon by an upward, or buoyant, force the magnitude of which is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body.

This means that the most important thing for you to do is displace the water. The more water you displace, the better you float. That’s why cement was actually commonly used to quickly build barges and boats during World War II (don’t try that at home though, folks!). A cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds. That means that a 180-pound man will float in a boat that is 1 foot by 1 foot by 3 feet. That’s small! You may want to make yours a little bigger.

Balloons and Guitars
We give teams a wide variety of materials to build their nautical marvels: PVC, ropes, tarps, inflatables, foam, and on and on. You don’t need to get so in-depth though if you’re just trying this out in the pool in your backyard.

Try mixing and matching any of these materials:
To displace the water: empty plastic bottles and jugs, foam noodles, balloons, plastic

Ziploc bags, cardboard
To keep it all together: Tarps, rope, twine, tape
To make a paddle: foam noodles, sticks, tennis rackets, acoustic guitars

Please remember the environment when you assemble and disassemble your craft. Keep your trash to a minimum and when any part of your raft breaks apart (and yes it will), rescue it all and don’t let any of it float off.

Gilligan and Grit – A Three Hour Tour
If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Research shows that grit is more important to success in life than intelligence. And remember the Gilligan principle. If you wait long enough, you will be rescued from the island, no matter how many failed attempts you have against you.

Safety First
And remember, safety first! Keep all body parts outside of the raft (so you don’t get tangled up if your boat breaks up), always wear a PFD and if you want to cross the Atlantic in your newly-built raft check a tide chart first.

Tell us about your adventure!
“Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…” Send us a photo of your home-made boat and a fish tale and we’ll feature you in a future newsletter! Send it to - Happy boating!

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Quix Tip – Start with the Goal First


  1. Imagine the goal clarity of a flock of geese flying south for the winter.
  2. Decide where you want to aim yourself (and your team and family) today, this week, month, year.
  3. Don’t include the process of how you will get there in the goal; just determine where you want to aim.
  4. State your goal publicly as simply and as passionately as you can.
  5. Let your goal guide you forward.

You hear them first and search for them up in the sky. There, high overhead, the geese are in a V formation or long line, heading south in a clear direction. Their goal is clear. They know where they are going. They don’t know what they’ll encounter along the way, but their inner GPS has the destination programmed in.

Goals give direction to a team, and to an individual. This is the first step for any successful venture, to have a common target to aim at, to know who you are and where you want to go. Noel Tichy also says that unclear goals are the cause of 80% of team conflict. If a goal isn’t clear (and agreed on by everyone on the team), there isn’t much hope of success. Gallup’s Q12 survey of employee engagement begins with: “Do I know what is expected of me at work?” Goals are where it all begins – the first and most important step.

Quixote Consulting uses action learning to explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities in GRPI Team Quest: GRPI model team development and team building activities.

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Quest Story – Giving With Purpose – Using Micro-loans to Make a Difference in Vietnam


The number one reason why people give is that they have an opportunity. Micro-loans provide that opportunity to give in a new way, allowing people to make small loans ($25 and up) to individuals around the world. You get your money back after a certain time period. With Kiva for example, you get it back within six to 12 months. Then, you can funnel the money into another loan, donate it to Kiva or return it to your bank account.

I spoke with entrepreneur John Sorenson about a recent trip he made to Vietnam to see the effects of micro-loans he made possible there, as well as to help with unexploded ordinances left from the Vietnam War. John took a break from celebrating his 70th birthday last week to tell me his story:

How John got involved with micro-loans and his trip to Vietnam to see them in action


The positive effects John saw in Vietnam from his micro-loans


John facilitated his micro-loans through Project Renew, part of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial FundClick here to lend money through KIVA.

Here’s an excerpt from one day’s entry in John’s Vietnam Journal:

We are up bright and early for a 7:45 a.m. meeting with Clear Path International, headquartered in Bainbridge Island, WA, and directed to helping UXO victims and their families.

Our next activity is to go with the RENEW staff to visit our micro-loan recipient families. (We had raised about $15,500 for this project to date, and the first $10,000 launched a class for 25 families – first taught animal husbandry skills and then provided funds for purchasing their animals.) Dang Quang Toan (“Toan”), the RENEW project coordinator, has prepared a document providing the details of the project so far; it has excellent content. Of the 25 recipients of loans, 16 have chosen to buy water buffalos for working their fields, three have purchased pigs, and six have purchased cows (oxen). We are assured that the project is being run well.

We go to the homes of two recipient families. In both cases, the men are not able to work because of their UXO wounds. One woman has received a water buffalo and the other an ox. In both cases, these will be used to pull their farm implements in place of tractors. Each of these families grows rice and peanuts, but had to rent the use of a buffalo or ox up to this time, removing a large percentage of the profits from their crops. To say the least, these women are very happy with their animals. Toan encourages us to raise another $5K so they can launch another class of 25.

After lunch with the RENEW staff, we head west to the mountains dividing VN and Laos. This is the land of the Montengards (“mountain people” who consist of 53 minority groups living mostly in the north and along the VN western border and making up about 10% of the VN population). We visit a pre-school and community center that was built by funds from the Global Community Services Foundation (GCSF) and Project RENEW. The center is on stilts in the tradition of the tribe, and the cost to build both buildings was about $30K. The community center has multiple purposes and provides a place where the heritage of the people can be preserved. It is wired for electricity but has no meter so the electricity is not turned on. Toan opens her purse, and soon all of us chip in $100 to buy a meter so they can get some electricity and a ceiling fan to move the hot, humid air. We are a spontaneous group.

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Quix Tip: Take a Leap Towards What You’re Longing For


“Birds make great sky-circles

of their freedom.

How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,

they are given wings.” – Rumi

  1. Notice one thing you’re missing in your life, you’re longing for, you’re wishing for.
  2. Notice if it links with something you loved doing when you were a kid.
  3. Welcome in the feeling of longing. Don’t push it away. This is a map to one of your unique strengths you were born with.
  4. Decide one small way you can make a little leap towards using one of your talents to provide for that longing today.
  5. Repeat every day this week.
  6. Don’t pay attention to the results – for better or worse. That doesn’t matter.
  7. Congratulate yourself every time you do something to feed the longing.
  8. After the week is up, look for a big leap you can make.
  9. Make the leap! As you fall, you’ll be given wings.

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Eleven Albums with Words to Support You Playing Work As a Ballad

If you’re attempting to play some important part of your work as a ballad, it will be really helpful to listen to ballads in the background as support. Here are twelve albums with singers and words to support you playing the work slowly with beauty and feeling.

  1. Rebecca Martin – People Behave Like Ballads
  2. Rebecca Martin – The Growing Season
  3. Rebecca Martin – Thoroughfare
  4. Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
  5. Frank Sinatra – Only the Lonely
  6. Iron & Wine – Around the Well
  7. Janis Ian – Between the Lines
  8. Silvio Rodríguez – Dominguez
  9. Dáithí Sproule – A Heart Made of Glass
  10. k.d. lang – Watershed
  11. Chet Baker – Let’s Get Lost

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Quix Tip – Play Your Work as A Ballad


  1. Pick one thing on your To Do list today
  2. Notice the tempo you usually choose to do that task
  3. Consciously slow down your speed
  4. Play it as a ballad – slow and pretty
  5. Notice what changes when you introduce space, beauty and feeling into the mix

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The Phoebes Flew On Independence Day


On the morning of July 4th, the baby phoebes were in their nest. I went tubing on the Millers River in the afternoon and when we returned, the nest was empty. They left on Independence Day – their first flight. And they never returned, probably never even looked back, not once. They moved forward with clear vision and no misgivings and doubts into the adventure of their fresh, new life. They made the leap, their hero’s journey into the unknown.

How did they do it? The Persian poet Rumi said, “Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they are given wings.”

Much of my work involves helping people uncover their natural, unique strengths they were born with. These talents can hide in plain sight. One of the telltale signs of a strength is to pay attention to your longings. What do you miss, wish for in your life? Longing can be a map to uncovering and beginning to use a hidden strength.

The phoebe nest sits empty now. A month later I still look at it and feel a now-familiar mixture of sadness that they’re gone and happiness for them that they’re free. The depth of a feeling of loss shows us how much we’ve let ourselves love.

Here’s to you paying attention to a longing that you hold as you move through your days. And here’s to you taking a leap, and falling into the unknown of a new wild and precious life.

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:
At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success.


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Prioritize With Persistence: Effort + Time = Success


Prioritizing with persistence involves examining your To-do list through the story of your long-term goals. We all can get lost in the weeds of immediate demands if we don’t consciously re-focus on projects that are vital to us but won’t get done in a day, a week, a month, a year or even a decade.

Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. What’s one long-term goal or project that’s really important to me that I’d like to persist a little more with?
  2. Which item on my To-Do list is a step towards taking action on my important long-term goal?
  3. Which item on my To-Do list could be done repeatedly every day for at least thirty days (creating a new synaptic groove in the brain)?
  4. Which item on my To-Do list could be best moved along by application of grit, determination, will, perseverance?
  5. Which item is important enough for me to invest some long-term effort into?

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:
At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success.

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Prioritize With Purpose: The Point Where You Meet the World


The world around you needs you.  Let’s start there.  There would be no To-do lists or prioritizing if the world, the people you know, your job, your team, your clients didn’t need you.

Imagine a world where no one cared enough to need you, or anything from you.  It may sound wonderful for a short amount of time, but what about long term?  What a sad, lonely life!
Look at your To Do list through the lens of being of the most use to the world around you. Look for the point where (as Frederich Boechner said), “Your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Ask yourself:

  1. What on my To-Do list is most important to me?
  2. What on my To-Do list is most important to the world?
  3. Where do those two items meet?
  4. What would provide the most benefit to the most people?
  5. What would allow me to see and viscerally experience the benefit I provide to the larger world?

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:
At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success.

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Prioritize With Play: Make Fun Your Priority


Prioritizing with play involves examining your To-do list through the story of what delights you, what is most pleasurable, fun for you.

Ask yourself:

  1. What on my To-Do list would be most fun to do?
  2. What on my To-Do list is easiest to do?
  3. What on my To-Do list would take the quickest amount of time?
  4. If nothing else mattered than my delight, what’s the first thing I’d do on this list?
  5. Do I have the discipline and courage to include self-care, my happiness and delight as an important factor in prioritizing my To-do list?

Play is your best entry into the rewards of prioritizing. What’s the reward? I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t doing more work (although that’s always an option). It’s to get your most important work done in the shortest amount of time, cut out overwhelmed feelings that lead to procrastination, and allow you to stop working sooner, to have some fun, to take more breaks, and give you the breathing room to do your work at your own rhythm. Play your list and take the extra time to play ‘off the list’.

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:
At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success.

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