Leaders are Teachers — January 9, 2022

Leaders are Teachers

The first time I went snow skiing was at Mountain High in 1989. I was 17. I went with my best friend, his two brothers, and their dad. All the boys learned how to ski at a very young age. It was second nature to them.

I clicked into my skis and followed the boys onto the chair lift. We continued going higher and higher until we reached the top of the mountain. My best friend kept telling me I’d be fine. Skiing is easy, just follow him and do what he does.

I made it off the lift…barely and lined up to make my way down the mountain. My friends took off, and I followed. I did okay for the first few seconds. But as the terrain steepened, I dug my edges in, and I froze, unable to turn my skis the other direction and make my way down. My friend did pause and attempt to help me. “Just plant your pole and turn!” I remember him telling me.

My friend couldn’t understand why I couldn’t turn my skis. It just came naturally to him. He forgot how difficult it was when first starting out at such a young age. Fortunately for me, his dad had come up behind us on the chair lift and headed in my direction to help.

Jim first learned to ski in his late 20s. In 1989 and well into his 50s, he had not forgotten how difficult it was when first starting out. He worked with me patiently until I could get down to a more manageable path on the mountain. He spent an hour teaching me the basics. Then he let me go on my own and would check in every now and then and give me advice like, “Keep your knees bent, plant your pole, lean back a bit, you’ll do fine.”

​This past weekend, I read this quote, and it reminded me of that day 32 years ago when Jim taught me to ski:

​We could all stand to remember how hard it is for others to master what we now find second nature and take for granted.  All leaders are teachers, and good teachers must possess the empathy to understand the difficulties of learning the basics.  It’s a lesson one should never outgrow or forget.

Admired Leadership

​​​Remember this the next time you sit down to teach your team something new. Be patient and understanding. Try to remember back when you first learned how to do it. Break tasks down into simple steps. Focus on the basics and leave out the finer details until they are ready for more. Remember the Jim in your life and aspire to be that kind of teacher.

Manage Your Emotions with a Body Budget — September 13, 2021

Manage Your Emotions with a Body Budget

Back in August, Ryan Holiday interviewed Lisa Barrett on Mastering Your Emotions for his nine-week Daily Stoic Leadership Challenge. During the discussion, Lisa used a systems approach to how describe how we should think about managing our emotions.

She used the term Body Budget to explain how the brain’s most important job is to regulate all the systems in the body in a metabolically efficient manner. You will be less likely to experience negative emotions if your body budget is solvent. If you are running a metabolic deficit, this can lead to feeling negative emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and shame. Left unchecked, long-running deficits can lead to bigger issues like anxiety and depression.

How To Body Budget:

  • Reframe your approach to managing your emotions as a body budgeting problem.
  • Don’t allow yourself to run a metabolic deficit for any length of time.
  • Catch deficits it in the moment and don’t let them get to the point that they drive your body budget into a deficit.

Do these to Stay on Budget:

  • Get a full eight hours sleep every night.
  • Eat healthy – Skip a meal if there isn’t a healthy option available.
  • Exercise rigorously for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Make sure you have social connections with people.