"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

A Time to Teach

There is a time to teach and a time to refrain from teaching.

As a leader, as a business owner deeply committed to earning a principled profit and sustaining a customer-oriented company culture always striving to improve, I’m forever presented with “teaching opportunities.”

Others might think of these as mistakes or mini-failures or even major failures. I prefer to think of them as teaching opportunities. It’s a great way to reframe to keep your emotional balance. Yet the heat of the moment is often the worst time to teach! Emotions often are running high, the people involved are often too emotionally invested in the situation to sit back and appraise their actions and motivations in a fully rational way.


“The Dance of Intimacy,” by Harriet Lerner

I began re-reading this old favorite the other day. “The Dance of Intimacy” deals with relationships and the patterns of distancing and pursuit (approach-avoidance behavior) that we often fall into in relationships.

The author also talks about how often things move in tandem: What most upsets us in others is frequently what we like least (or are most afraid of finding) in ourselves. Furthermore, often what we like least about others is somehow linked to what we like most about them.

Awareness of these patterns and a common language to discuss them are the first steps in effectively dealing with them and creating a climate for change.

Because specifics/concrete details help me understand abstract thoughts better, I found this list of linked/mirror traits of interest.

Least Liked Trait

  • Tendency to hog the spotlight
  • Failure to be straightforward, direct
  • Sense of entitlement and “me first” attitude  

Most Liked Trait

  • Energetic and entertaining personality
  • Kindness, tact, respect for feelings of others
  • Ability to “go for it” and know her own goals

Of Dining Rooms and Kitchens

When I first started out in business, as a budding entrepreneur/investor, I had no mentor or role model or beaten path to follow. I was making it up as I went along, feeling my way forward. As a result, I ferociously consumed business books, looking for nuggets of information I could cobble together to help me find my way.

I found much that helped me, but for a while I was confused. Many people writing about their own businesses didn’t seem to have serious problems, at least not real problems, the ones that keep you awake at night, or that stalk the back roads of your mind, or keep you peering endlessly into a deep fog that never seems to part, or wrestling with choices that seem like frying pan to the left and roaring fire to the right. Life appeared a lot easier and clearer in most of the books than the challenges I faced running my business.