A Simple Way to Give Better Gifts

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has been researching the correlation between money and happiness for decades.

What has he found? It turns out that while we used to think material things were the way to happiness, according to science, what will bring you the most lasting happiness are experiences — travel, outdoor activities, new skills.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich in the study “A Wonderful Life: Experiential Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are a part of you. We’re the sum total of our experiences.”

Humans are highly social creatures, and meaningful social relationships contribute hugely in our happiness levels.

This might not be a surprise to you, especially if you’re under 35. “A cash incentive would have disappeared into my bank account or gone to pay rent,” says one 20-something who was rewarded with World Series tickets for meeting a sales goal, a much more memorable experience.

Those who study millennials say these children of Boomers grew up in households that validated their feelings and in a society that serves as a social media echo chamber for their opinions. The result is a new breed of worker who values validation over cash.

What’s followed has been a string of new startup businesses catering to providing memorable employee reward experiences. But why choose a startup to plan an experience of a lifetime, when you can draw on the depth of Epic Corporate Experiences to create your unique, high-caliber events, retreats and travel experiences that will make the whole team happy, not just the millenials.

For more information visit goepiccorp.com or call 480-788-5093.

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Time to Treat Yo’ Team

It’s the best day of the year, according to Parks and Rec characters Tom and Donna. A day to lavish and spoil yourself with anything – get a massage. Have a pedicure while sipping fancy coffee concoctions, splurge on a new outfit and of course no treat yo’ self day is complete without cupcakes.

Has your team worked extra hard and earned a treat? ODA’s sister company, Epic Corporate Experiences, can deliver. Their services go beyond teambuilding, creating unique, high-caliber events, retreats and travel experiences.

Epic experiences are perfect when you have expected the best from your team… and then they exceeded those expectations. They are a celebration of excellence, of victories and a time to have fun together and foster a spirit of community.

While we’ll create an event to your specifications—from tame to active–, our signature programs integrate fun and adventure. We’ve done it all from snowmobiling in Jackson Hole, sailing in Costa Rica to a San Diego sand castle building contest. We’ll even provide cupcakes.

Best of all, your treat is letting us take care of all the planning, making you look great! For more information visit goepiccorp.com or call 480-788-5093.

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Kate Hudson’s Team building Wisdom

Bear Grylls, with his extensive military background, is a fountain of wisdom on teamwork. But on a recent episode of his show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, it was a celebrity co-star who had the insightful words. While sitting around the campfire roasting freshly caught pigeon, Actress Kate Hudson found herself opening up personally to the outdoor survival expert about her childhood and divorces. She comments on the experience saying:

“It’s funny, cause when you’re out in the wilderness, when you start to sit and talk to Bear, you end up talking about things you wouldn’t normally share. But you know, you get people in environments where they’re exposed and it allows for more open conversation.”

In team building, this concept is referred to as the novel setting. The novel setting is a critical concept in team building events. When we’re in the office, going through the same routine day after day, our communication and interactions also tend to become routine. The leaders keep leading, the socializers keep talking, the complainers keep grumbling, the analyzers keep questioning. And that means we may get annoyed by the repetitiveness, or disengaged by the predictability. Shaking things by moving out of the office space, gives us a refreshing new perspective.

Getting out of our comfort zones is a great way to unclog lines of communication. When in a fresh setting, perhaps one that is a bit uncomfortable, we feel vulnerable. We respond to vulnerability by expressing ourselves. Will that expression always be happy and sunny? No, but it will be a guaranteed conversation starter and will probably generate a pretty memorable experience. Good or bad, new experiences generate fresh communication.

Don’t worry, camp fires are not required. What can make the experience as productive as possible is involving a third party. An outside facilitator recognizes those preconceived roles that the team is no longer in tune with, and will help encourage that openness that is so valuable. Click here for a great story about a woman who came out of her comfort zone during a team building event and contact us for some fun event ideas.

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Back to School

No, it’s not just you – summer is flying by! Before we know it, school will be back in session and students around the country will be back in the classroom. No matter how far out of school you are, you understand what a tough transition it is to go from carefree summer days, to the structure of a school day. While learning is important and should be interesting and engaging, sitting in place and staying focused for an extended period of time is a challenge for us at any age.

This can be even worse as adults. Instead of the hands-on, participative lessons that primary teachers are so adept at presenting, we’re most often asked to sit in a crowded room and listen passively.

We know we can’t escape it, learning is a part of life and businesses commonly find the need to rally the troops for training seminars; from new hire orientation to new product education. The challenge is how to make the material heard and understood, ensuring that the time is not wasted. It’s not the audience’s fault for not concentrating or the speaker’s fault for not entertaining— research shows that most of us can only absorb presentations for about 15 minutes.  So why not give the audience a few well-timed breaks?  Break-out teambuilding sessions can be a perfect way to get an audience moving and mingling— talking about the material and getting some blood flowing to the brain.

A professional facilitator can integrate a speaker’s workshop or training material into icebreakers and group games, providing an engaging, interactive experience. Teambuilding activities can complement the speaker by incorporating the themes or language that is being covered. For example, we recently did a session for a large corporate group who had been reading and discussing the subject of trust. We were able to guide them through some great, active, trust-building games that brought the material to life.

So if you need to freshen up your next PowerPoint, think beyond the YouTube video clip. Instead, get the audience excited about your material by making it real and active. Subscribe to our newsletter for some activities that can be done on your own, or contact us at sales@onedayadventures.com or at 480-788-5093.


The Power of Words

All across the nation, students and teachers alike are anticipating the end of the school year recovering from the recent pressure of standardized testing. Phoenix Corporate Team Building

In the wake of recent standardized testing taking place in schools across the nation, an encouraging note went viral. This inspirational letter reminded students that they are more than just their test scores, reminding each that “you are special and unique… kind, trustworthy and thoughtful and every day you try to be your very best.”

The popularity of the letter is a testament to the fact that, young and old, we all appreciate a little encouragement.

The importance of encouragement in the work place is well documented in the book “Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others.” According to the book, encouraging the Heart is demonstrated in ways such as:

1. Rewarding and recognizing individuals, celebrating spirit of community. This means personal, thoughtful recognition that shows true appreciation for a job well done.

2. Expecting the best from everyone, setting clear expectations/goals, provide feedback, creating conditions for success.

3. Showing appreciation for individual excellence; celebrating values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

4. Having fun together, displaying honest caring for employees.

When was the last time your team demonstrated these actions? What are some things you can do to facilitate more encouragement? (the ODA Newsletter has an idea… e-mail sales@onedayadventures.com to be added)


Meet your ODA Facilitator

Team building Facilitator Profile: Josh

Describe your team building philosophy

Josh at the base of the iconic Fitz Roy tower, in Argentine Patagonia.

I believe that events should be really fun and highly interactive, because that is usually the opposite of the work environment.

Favorite team building event or game?

Who Stole My Chicken?

Books or Books on tape?

Books on tape, I drive a lot. Although, I did recently finish reading The Emerald Mile, which was great.

Favorite place in the world?

Yosemite National Park, with all of its granite towers and green trees. I spent two months in the Yosemite backcountry and enjoy regular rock climbing trips there.

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would it be?

Aaron Rodgers or Joel Osteen – they are both class acts and role model leaders.

Favorite quote or piece of advice?

Go camping!


Four Easy steps to Improved Communication

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? Not so well? Well don’t worry, there is still plenty of time for self-improvement. Communication is one of those traits that any of us can easily improve upon at any given moment. Here are some simple ways to improve your communication skills – no daunting resolutions required.

1. Pace yourself. Be wary of using big words, long, run-on sentences and speaking too fast. People listen more slowly than they think, so give people space to consider what you are saying. Don’t be afraid to take your time when you speak.

2. On the other hand, also think about what you are saying. Make an effort to get to the point; communicating concisely so what you say is more easily retained by listeners.

3. Show respect to the listener by maintaining an attitude of consideration, caring and tact. Prior to the conversation, put yourself in your shoes, envisioning things like what they might hope to gain from and how they might interpret the exchange.

4. Make an effort, but don’t try so hard that you’re not being yourself. It’s OK to inject some personality into your conversations, which will engage the listener and help you better connect. Caring too much about how people view you puts you at risk of appearing uptight, fake or unapproachable.

Still want to keep working on those resoutions? Tips for helping make those goals stick can be found in previous blog posts:



Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for a team building game perfect for helping everyone on your team improve their communication skills.


Fumbles, Failure and Dealing with Defeat

If your ODA facilitators don’t seem as upbeat as usual this week, it’s because our favorite teams suffered some devastating losses in the recent NFL playoffs (colts and packers). The defeats are particularly difficult this year, as a playoff win would have brought a favored team to our Phoenix home for the Superbowl.

There was a particular moment in the Packers-Seahawks NFC Championship game that contained a valuable lesson for any team.

With five minutes left in the game, the Packers had the ball and a 19-7 lead on the Seattle Seahawks. What quickly became an epic collapse included a season-defining fumble.

In preparation for an outside kick, backup tight end Brandon Bostick was lined up on the left side next to Jordy Nelson, one of the best wide receivers in the league. Bostick’s job was to block the second man down. Nelson’s job is to get the ball.

“We’ve got certain guys to make these plays back there,” said cornerback Tramon Williams. “And certain guys to block.”

Instead of doing his job, Bostick jumped for the ball, which then bounced off his helmet causing a fumble.

“It wasn’t my job at all,” said Bostick, “I was supposed to block. I just ran to the ball. I felt like I had my hands on the ball. I just got hit and then I didn’t have the ball. I thought I could get it. Obviously, I couldn’t.

Bostick went onto the field as a team member. Each member was assigned a specific role and given specific instructions by their leader. Bostick took a risk in playing a role he wasn’t assigned to play and his risk backfired, to the detriment of the entire team.

Does that mean that team members should never take risks or challenge themselves? Of course not. Bostick’s mistake may have started a series of events that lead to the loss, but he was not solely responsible for the loss.

Teams are compiled of individuals, and those individuals are going to make mistakes. While those mistakes may lead to failure, other risks may lead to success. The team wins together and loses together. Ultimately, it’s up to the team to respond to mistakes in a healthy way. Use the opportunity for education and further mentoring. Support the team mate. Rise on the other side, use it to get better.

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Quotes taken from



Fear Factor

Last year we worked with a group that was led by a young manager. He had a rather strong, imposing personality. What he said, people did. While the group functioned well together, it was clear that they were somewhat intimidated by their manager.

The manager participated in the activity, joining one of the five teams competing against each other. It was clear that the manager had a difficult time getting out of “boss mode” and into the spirit of the team building activity. He had a hard time asking for help and trouble delegating responsibility. As a result of his challenges, his team placed last.

Leadership can be a scary, lonely place. It’s easy to mask insecurities by adopting an authoritative approach. While fear can be used as a short term tactic for generating a sense of urgency, it doesn’t bode well for an overall positive work environment.

If you recognized yourself in this story, you’re in a good place. Recognition is a healthy first step towards positive change. Next, spend some time brainstorming what it is that you are afraid of. Is it criticism? Failure? The burden of responsibility? Once identified, you are in a good place for taking positive steps towards change. Talk about your fears to a trusted mentor or friend. Then research strategies for overcoming your fear and put them into action. Soon you will find your team transformed.

A high ropes course is a great way to confront and release fear. Click here and here to read more.

Return to the ODA Home Page. Contact us at sales@onedayadventures.com or 480-788-5093.


Surviving the Storm

Summer Storms have rocked the Phoenix metro area, stalling cars in flooded streets and leaving a mess of downed trees and mud-caked yards. In the same way, tough times – financial strain, acquisitions, PR crises– can sweep through a business, leaving employees feeling shocked and defeated.

The good news for organizations is that tough times can actually serve to galvanize teams, ultimately having a positive effect on morale. A business can use challenging times to focus internally, building company loyalty and creating high-performance teams that will position the business to be ahead of the competition when the economy rebounds.

Establishing high performance teams is a process that requires focused effort over the long term.  The term “team-building” has become so overused it’s almost meaningless, describing any group activity including the office pot-luck or Friday doughnut day.

However, strategic, professionally facilitated team activities creates trust and open lines of communication that don’t happen naturally but have real impact as a platform for other team functions such as generating vision and goal setting.

Effective team building requires more planning then simply arranging a group dinner but does not have to be as elaborate as an overnight dude ranch excursion.  A half day of in-town activity is sufficient, as long as the event is directed by a professional trained in group dynamics.  Effective events don’t leave room for cliquishness, but rather force the entire group of participants to interact and work together.

There are plenty of fun activities from paintball to rock climbing that are short but still exciting enough to leave employees feeling refreshed and create positive memories.  These memories can later be used by an office manager to trigger the learning that took place during the event.

Strategic team building events will improve the workplace atmosphere and keep loyal employees on-board both when times are tough and when they aren’t.

Contact our professionals today for a team building program that gets results!

Sales@onedayadventures.com or 480-788-5093

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