Come on, Brain

May 23, 2015

BY JIMMY EGELAND – CREATIVE DIRECTOR

I’m a sentimental guy. I really value the great memories and experiences I’ve had throughout my life. Stuff like playing baseball growing up, family vacations, my wedding day, and the birth of my twins are all locked away in a special place in my brain. The strange thing is, since joining Elicit in May of 2014, my subconscious has started to allow work-related experiences into that sacred cerebral space.

Wait a second—work stuff mixing with precious memories? Come on, brain! Where are the sirens and intruder alerts? Well, in typical brain fashion, it had it right all along. These experiences belong right where they’ve been catalogued. But how? Work is supposed to be, well, work. Why would my brain encourage mixing in this stuff with the memories I cherish? Quite simply: Mind Meld.

Twice a year annually, the entire Elicit team attends the aforementioned event. While the uninformed may liken this to a “company retreat,” those who have attended know it is so much more than that. We dedicate a week to inspiring one another, bonding on so many different levels, and strengthening both our technical and interpersonal skills. It’s like a weeklong party / conference / vacation—a “parferation,” if you will—and it is the secret to hacking into your brain’s most treasured memory bank.

Figure 1

Trust falls and ropes courses it is not. The events and experiences at Mind Meld are dictated by and for one another so there is zero cheese factor. Each team member is inspired to teach the collective group about their area of expertise, and the result is one of the most integrated teams I’ve worked with. Team members are also empowered to bond with whomever they want, whenever they want, and however they want. I had the fortune to have awesome experiences with several of my teammates in a ton of different places: in the conference room, at dinner, in the lodge, around the campfire, on the basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, dodging enemy laser beams in the thick Montana brush—all over the place.

Fresh off of Mind Meld 7 in beautiful Flathead Lake, Montana, I am practically compelled to write this article on the plane ride home. Unlike my teammates, travel is not a big part of my job description. I am not used to being away from my wife and kids for any longer than a few hours. Yet I sit here conflicted. I am so excited to finally be on my way home to see them, but I am so sad that Mind Meld had to come to an end. Mind Meld 7, what have you done to me?!?

Wait a second. Now I’m starting to get it. I was thinking about this all wrong. To my brain, these aren’t “great work experiences.” They are simply “great experiences” that just so happen to have involved the people I work with. Just imagine how awesome it would be to work with a team that can access your brain’s most coveted collection of memories.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to.