A Year of Teamwork: Our 2016 Theme and Goal

Clang… Click…  The steel-barred door firmly shut and locked. The five of us were secured inside a cell that would have been a cozy fit for two. None of us had been arrested before, and we weren’t sure what to do next. Someone began examining the gibberish–scrawled in permanent marker–on the cement wall. I fumbled with a combination lock that was fastened to an antique cabinet in the corner.

Fortunately, it only took a few minutes for one of our team members to decipher the hieroglyphics, and the fourth combination suggested was a success. Inside the wooden cabinet was a framed picture and a journal–filled with more, mysterious clues.

The hints led to uncovering a hidden, extendable steel-pole, with a fishhook attached to one end. The tallest member of our team cautiously extend this device through the bars and carefully hooked it to a key–strategically hidden in a fishbowl–at the far end of the room. The key fit perfectly in the cell door, but opening our cell was only the beginning of our journey. The next step was to escape from the locked room.

Our second escape was more complex. It involved cracking a computer code and using a lighted web-cam to retrieve another combination from inside of a locked drawer. This combination led to the discovery of a secret room, and ultimately, to our escape.

We had teamed-up successfully to release ourselves from our escape-room maze in fifty minutes flat. It wasn’t a new record, but it was a success. Working together, the five of us accomplished what no, one of us could have done on our own.

The escape-room experience was a Christmas gift from our in-laws. The girl’s team was up next, and I’m proud to report that we guys escaped slightly faster. Apparently, these rooms are a popular form of entertainment in Europe and are trickling their way into the United States. This interactive, team-building puzzle is something that I would definitely do again. Not only was it a fun end to our holiday adventures, but it was also an excellent reminder of the power of teamwork.

Teamwork 2016
Our Incredible, maze-room escape, team!

Teamwork: One of my Greatest Surprises of 2015

In the past, I’ve been skeptical of online friendships. After all, how much of a relationship can one develop with someone living hundreds or even thousands of miles away? One of my most pleasant surprises of 2015 was discovering just how meaningful cyber-friendship can be.

Over the past year, casual acquaintances have developed into full-blown friends. Of course, tools like blogs, social media, and Skype have made these long-distance relationships easier than ever. Today, connecting with my new-found blogging friends is one of the highlights of my week.

It’s also how I’m growing both as a writer and personally. The prayers, words of encouragement, bits of writing wisdom, and real-life conversations, have far exceeded expectations.

It’s also been a joy to be able to pray for my friends, cheer them on, add my insights to their writing, and brainstorm strategies on how to make life work.

My Teamwork Journey

Learning how to team-up with others has been a process. And it’s an area where I would like to continue to grow. Teams are powerful. Whether you are locked in a puzzle-maze, trying to think your way out, or looking to expand your writing platform, teaming-up is the best way to get the job done. That’s why I’m declaiming 2016, my year of teamwork.

This year, I’m excited about doing more collaborative posts, more guest-posting, and more connecting. In 2015, I read fewer books and more blog-posts–Mostly because I love the personal interaction that the blogging environment creates. Being able to ask honest questions, and receive practical feedback–from the author himself–is incredible!

Of course, this ties into why I began this website, in the first place. Life is an ongoing conversation, and there is rarely only right answer. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” Wise leaders connect with others and harness the power of teamwork.

Since I’m declaring 2016 as my teamwork year, I thought I would start by hosting my first link party. I discovered link-parties a few weeks ago and am having a blast networking and making new friends. If you write or blog, I would be honored to have you join in by adding one or two of your favorite posts from 2015. It’s easy, fun, and takes less than a minute to do.

And while you’re at it, please be sure to take the time to visit some of the other submitted posts, leave a comment, and make new friends–after all, that is what these parties are all about. The only requirement is that your post is family-friendly and touches on a topic of family, friendship, or faith.

Continue the Teamwork Conversation

Before you go, what are some of the ways that you are teaming up with others? Since 2016 is my year of teamwork, I’d love to hear your wisdom and insights on how I can best team-up with you in this new year!

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

38 thoughts on “A Year of Teamwork: Our 2016 Theme and Goal”

    1. BTW: Here are three posts I want to share.
      The Legacy of a Mom Who Raised Men – A tribute to my mom upon her passing.

      Why Yes, Real Men Can Have Pretty Toenails – Some thoughts on being a “real man” while raising three daughters; it is routinely among my most read posts.

      The Lost Art of Being Neighbors – A quasi-review of Dave Arnold’s “Building Friendships” with reflections on my childhood neighbor and a challenge to be a better one to others. This post had been forming in my mind for years, but it was not until I read Dave’s book that I was finally able to formulate ll the thoughts into something readable.

      1. Good post choices there, Chad. (Left some new comments on a few there.) And it was good to connect in 2015. One of my own goals this coming year is to protect more time for personal “inputs” including collaboration, by saying “no” to more requests that are outside my focus area. I got myself in deep, spread too thin, toward the middle of 2015 and it’s taken this long to begin extricating myself. But I’ve never been more resolved. Looking forward to open more time for creative elbow-rubbing with people such as yourself in the year ahead.

        1. Thanks Erik. Appreciate you taking the time to give them a read and comment. The “time-suck monster” certainly got the best of the best of me in 2015, too! As I look at my 2016, I realize that I am over committed already and hoping to inject a little personal discipline, organization and clarity of focus to get a better balance in place.

    2. Happy new year! Thanks for joining in, and for sharing and promoting too! I just figured out how to correctly configure this link-party on my site. If you like, please free to re-add your posts, directly to the page, as this will make them easier to find 🙂

    1. our gang: The top-ranked post of all time on “The Best Advice So Far” blog, and with good reason. A heartwarming tribute that begs the question, “Are creative people happier? Or is it that happy people – are more creative?”

      our gang: part 2: Thoughts on how deep friendships are formed, and a challenge to take some risks in your own relationships.

  1. jacquelinegwallace

    Happy new year, Jed! I appreciate your article and link-up opportunity. I tried the joining links thing but not sure I did it right! When I link back to my blog it only shows my current posting so I try to paste in the one I want to share. In this case the title is “Goliaths and Greater Things.” But I don’t know what “grabbing a button for my site” means! Help! So much to learn!
    Bless you and yours!

    1. Thanks Jacquline,

      You and me both 🙂 This is my first time hosting a link-up, and I’m learning along the way. I just figured out how to get the post images to show up, directly on the site. Your post, is up there. Thank’s for joining in. Don’t worry about the button. Those who participate in multiple link parties, often have a page connecting back to each to party, so that other’s can join in. If your looking for a list of other great Link-ups, you can find the ones I follow here:

      Wishing you a very happy new year!

      1. I’m glad you’re doing this. I’ve been wanting to meet other bloggers who share similar interests. This is going to help me meet some writers and perhaps I’ll make some new friends.

  2. Do you know, I truly think that 2016 is going to be an amazing year. What you’ve shared – about being determined to work more with others and build others up – I’ve been hearing from all sorts of people. This is going to be a year of teamwork, of support, of help and encouragement. One thing that I’ve decided to do this year is find out the needs and the strengths of my readership and start bringing people together who can help each other. After all, why are we blogging if we’re not building a community?

    I’ll add one of my posts to your linkup. Thank you.

    Excellent post and I’m so glad you shared it with The Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    – Marie, Blogger’s Pit crew

  3. Hey Jed, That’s way too good looking a group to be in Jail ! Good theme for 2016 and a great message to kick-off with. Going to steal that theme as part of my 2016 as well. Thank you for the insight!

  4. Nice to meet you Jed! New blogging friendships are a good thing 🙂 I haven’t been blogging too much during 2015 besides my linky party so I have nothing to share, but one of my goals in 2016 is to try to get a few posts in each week.

    Thank you for linking up with my No Rules Party..great to see new faces.

  5. That looks like it was a lot of fun and realizing the power of teamwork was an added bonus for sure, Jed. I’m grateful to visit your place and know about you and your linkup. I’m also grateful for your comment back at my place, my friend! Yes, blogging friendships have become a rich and fertile part of my life. It’s hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it before. They just don’t get it, but I look forward getting to know you and your blog! Happy New Year too!

  6. Great idea, Jed! A link up sounds like fun!

    Glad to connect with you in 2015. Looking forward to a wonderful 2016.

    And, I agree… finding like-minded blogging friends makes it so much sweeter!

    Hope you have a blessed day, and I’m glad you got out of jail!

    (Found your post today on Social Butterfly~)

    1. Hey Melanie,

      Yes, I’ve been having a lot of fun joining in at Social Butterfly, and some of the other link-ups. So much fun, that I could’t help but try it out myself. Thanks for stopping by and joining in.

      Wishing you a wonderful 2016, a well!

  7. Congrats on the new link up, Jed! Happy New Year to you and your family! I think it is a great idea to do team work, and it is truly amazing how social media can have you “meet” so many talented people. What an interesting Christmas present. I was reading this and I am claustrophobic, and I am thinking there is no way! Thanks so much for linking up with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

    1. Thanks Kelly,

      Thanks for dropping by and joining in. Yes, it’s awesome connecting with everyone on #SocialButterflySunday. I’m looking forward to joining in again. Wishing you and your family a happy 2016 too!

    1. Thanks Kirby,

      I sure appreciate you joining in. Yes, it’s fun to see so many mutual connections. Thank you for all of the encouragement and support along the way. I’m looking forward to many more times of teaming-up together in the years ahead!

  8. Hi Jed. I’m pleased to meet you in cyberspace. I’m glad you chose to share with us on Spiritual Sundays. I know what you share will be very inspiring. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hey Charlotte,

      It’s great to connect and thanks for joining in the conversation. I love teaming-up with you guys at Spiritual Sundays, and am looking forward to joining in again, next week!

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