The rain dance is traditionally associated with Native American tribes from the southwestern United States. But the rain dance is far from exclusive to Native Americans.

For generations, dances intended to invoke rain were a regular part of tribal life in parts of Africa, China, and Thailand. Rain dances have even been documented in some Eastern European cultures. In all these regions, rain was essential to agriculture and, ultimately, survival. Without rain, life was unbearable.

Did the dances actually influence the weather? Probably not. Did the dances influence the psyche of the tribe? Most definitely.

The one constant among those who engaged in the ritual was that the dances were always led by the groups’ most influential figures—the chiefs, the shamans, and the kings. These individuals got the rest of the tribe to participate and believe in the dance’s purpose.

What sometimes gets lost in the mystique of the rain dance is that the rituals were highly choreographed. The dance steps were intricate and left little room for improvisation. Comparatively, the dances that occurred once the rain started to fall were much more spontaneous. Those dances were raw and celebratory. People were genuinely thankful and happy to be dancing in the rain.

A favorite quote of mine, often attributed to artist/author Vivian Green, is: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

Working with others can be emotionally taxing, especially during difficult times. If you allow yourself to be fooled into thinking you’ll be happy and able to get along with everybody once the difficulty passes, you’ll soon discover yourself to be entangled in stress.

Being part of a competitive team is stressful by nature. Your involvement is a constant matter of give-and-take, sacrifice, and prioritizing team needs over individual wants—all of which can be exacerbated by the team’s struggle to succeed.

Good teammates are gifted with the willingness to remain loyal and weather their teams’ metaphorical storms. Their stick-to-it-ness can hold their teams together during difficult times. But more importantly, good teammates can also dance in the rain.

Good teammates are rain dancers, not in that their intentions are to conjure precipitation, but in that they are able to value the journey and find happiness despite the journey’s challenges.

Because our emotions impact those around us, the ability to dance in the rain is an essential skill for anyone who is part of a team. Much like the chiefs, shamans, and kings who influenced their tribes, good teammates influence the emotional well-being of their fellow team members by dancing in the rain.

The chiefs, shamans, and kings weren’t concerned about how they looked or what others thought of their dancing. Their concern was helping their teams. The same is true for good teammates.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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