It’s Not About You

I recently read a wonderful article by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, and author of Some Stories: Lessons from the Edge of Business and Sports. He was explaining how he had studied Zen and how it taught him, “to simplify and to simplify yields a richer result.” Although I’ve never studied Zen, this seemed incredibly applicable right now.

He shared many examples but the one that grabbed my attention was about fly fishing. Chouinard states, “If you want to only catch a fish, use a worm. But using artificial flies takes the same approach as Zen archery. You learn the life cycles of the insects. You study the rivers like rock climbers study the face of the rock cliff… Finally, after 10,000 hours, you begin to think like a fish.”

In the middle of this global pandemic, Chouinard’s words should resonate. If you are a leader in any way—which means someone is counting on you and that could be a co-worker or a child, then you need to “think like a fish.” Vision is critical for leaders, but if you never “think like a fish,” you may have missed a critical opportunity. Great leaders will want to “think like a fish,” so they’ll check in and ask, “How are you? What is your greatest fear right now?” Great leaders must have strength and confidence, but they must also have compassion and understanding. Today, you might want to think like a fish. As Chouinard said about Zen, “simplify yields a richer result.”

With Gratitude,

PS Please don’t forget to send in your nominations for this weeks winner of a free copy of The Wake Up Call. I am looking for everyday heroes who are putting themselves at risk everyday in the face of this pandemic.

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