Divers, Coach and Boys – Trust Conquers All!

Grace under pressure is what was exhibited by the Navy seal team, the 12 boys who were trapped and their coach Ekkapol “Ake” Chantawong.  As with every successful outcome there were a myriad of factors that contributed to saving the lives of the young boys and their coach. So many experts said it couldn’t be done. They were missing for ten days.  Most of the boys couldn’t swim and had limited water skills.  None could scuba dive. Deep inside the cave with little food for an extended period of time they were weak, cold and cramped together hoping and waiting for their rescuers to come…and they did.

Having trust that everything would work out had a profound effect that helped everyone involved reach above and beyond.

A contributing factor in their survival was their coach, Ake.  He was orphaned as a child, and joined a monastery for a time before leaving to help his ailing grandmother.  He taught the boys to conserve their energy, and remain calm through meditation. The boys trusted him implicitly and he gave them hope.

The divers taught the boys how to swim, and dive within a short amount of time under extraordinary circumstances. Cave diving is one of the most dangerous activities in the world. The fact that a former Thai navy diver lost his life is a testament to how treacherous the conditions were.

Taking that journey through a labyrinth of caves required the divers to build strong bonds with the boys they would be rescuing.  Even if you were an expert swimmer, imagine plunging into the darkness and working your way up and down tight crevasses and through a maze of tunnels while scuba diving.  None of that would have been possible without building trust. The boys had to literally put their lives into the hands of others they had just met in order to survive.

Volunteers were another factor.  Many experts from around the world offered their assistance and resources. People came together in unity for a common cause. Divers, military personnel, engineering experts, and people from all walks of life offered to help. There were so many things that could have gone wrong, and yet they all survived.  What people said was impossible became a reality.

When we read about how to build a community there are often several main components that are mentioned repeatedly. (1) Have a purpose (2) Be deliberate in your decisions (3) Use the best tools (4) Be inclusive (5) Empower people….The list goes on!  However, the one factor that if mentioned, seems to be considered a secondary element is trust.  Ironically, trust is probably one of the most important factors related to success.  So, how do you build trust?.  If you are working toward an individual goal, such as starting a new business or learning a new skill you have to trust yourself and believe you can do it.  When working toward a common goal you have to trust not only yourself, but those around you in order to be successful.  Such was the case of the divers who instilled confidence in the boys so they could save their lives.  In return, the boys believed they could do it and were successful in doing the impossible.  It all boiled down to the relationships that were built and the foundation of all relationships can be summed up in one word…..trust.

Building communities that care about others is a cornerstone of innovation, positive growth and achievement beyond what we think is possible.  Trust is a component that is embedded within those communities and can make great things happen for the benefit of all of us.

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