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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Lessons from the Lake.

Lessons from the Lake.  I went kayaking with my new pal Kenny.  It was a Do ALL the Things activity in South Carolina before I relocate to my next nomad location.  Three hours together and the wisdom I gained will travel with me.

  1. Leaders teach.  Kenny is a retired schoolteacher and coach.  That same patience, mentorship and guidance was on full display as he shared his water wisdom about kayaking and fishing. Leadership is coaching and teaching.  How can you impact those around you by sharing your experience with patience.

  2. Get uncomfortable.  We often play it safe, doing what we know, coloring within the lines.  When someone else sees in you what you don’t yet see in yourself, you may feel uncomfortable and find success by pushing yourself.  I was a novice and wanted to prove I was worthy of Kenny’s time and equipment.  He believed in me, and I felt that support to go outside of my comfort zone.

  3. Good enough is good enough.  I like kayaking because I can be ‘good enough’ at it. Perfection is unnecessary and it is easy to enjoy (as long as I don’t fall into the water). At work, good enough can be just that – good enough to complete the task and move onto the next.  Assess if the juice is worth the squeeze (the ROI of your time and resources).

  4. Authenticity matters.  I heard some fish tales out on the water: stories of 10 lb. bass and the ones that got away.  Pictures are proof, but so is someone’s word.  Kenny was authentic in his stories, and I believed him, no photos required.  Authenticity in leadership earns trust and builds equity with your colleagues.

  5. Take a break.  Whatever your day is like or how you slept the night before, time in nature can do wonders.  Step away from technology and screens (even if only for a few minutes) and see if you can reframe your day.  The sun, the breeze, the water, the trees, the smell of the lake – engaging my senses cleared my head. It was a reminder to take breaks to help my focus.

At the end of the outing, this was time well spent:  with a mentor, pushing myself at something new, but not holding myself to such a high standard that success would be elusive; reminding myself to be authentic and act with integrity, and to find strength by engaging all my senses.

Lessons in leadership … from a lake.  

(No bathing suit required. Thank goodness.)

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