Legend has it that Ōsensei, the founder of Aikido, was once approached by a student who asked how the master never lost his balance.
He responded by challenging the premise of the question, saying:
I am constantly losing my balance. My skill lies in my ability to regain it.
You’ve heard both Bonni and I mention family and our personal lives before. Since we have a belief that good leadership also means leading well at home and outside of the organization, this week’s guide provides resources to get better outside of work.
There’s been a lot written on the value of friendship and most people, all things being equal, would love to have more quality friendships in their lives.
Whenever the topic of building friendships comes up with clients, people often say that (1) it’s really hard to make friends as an adult and (2) I wish I was better at it.
Since I struggled even in childhood to make friends, that reality hits home for me. I resonate with others who also struggle with this — and believe that it’s absolutely worth getting better at it.
It’s easier for kids to make friendships, since they have more shared experiences in similar places. An recent article in Fast Company addresses the real challenges adults face and gives insight on how to make new friends as an adult.
While I wouldn’t trade the opportunity of being a parent for anything, it’s greatly reduced the amount of time that Bonni and I have to talk to each other. Before kids, we could easily spend hours talking in the evening or on weekends about life, work, and our shared interests.
I first read in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink* about the work researchers have done to predict the longevity of romantic relationships, merely by observing a couple communicating for just a few minutes. It turns out that short observations can be remarkably accurate predictors for who will stay together and who won’t.
The Atlantic looked at the studies and research findings. They conclude that lasting relationships come down to kindness and generosity.
Like a lot of parents with children around the age of 2 or 3, I suddenly found my temper growing and using terms like “time out” when our son wasn’t behaving the way I wanted.
These things rarely resolved anything, but like a lot of parents, I wasn’t aware of better options. The whole situation made me sad — since I wanted my interactions with our children to be generally more joyful.
I mentioned my frustration to a friend who happens to be a psychologist, and he recommended a book. Most of the time when I read books, a get a few new ideas — but rarely do I find a book life-changing.
No Drama Discipline* by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson completely changed how I view discipline and massively improved my patience and communication with our children. It’s worth a read for any parents who, like me, want better for themselves and their kids.
For those with sons, Raising Cain* by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson is also an important read.
David Wissore has been a longtime listener to Coaching for Leaders, so when he reached out to me recently on a new project he was working on, I was intrigued.
He’s recently launched a new website and podcast on, “helping fathers understand how they can be leaders in their families and by doing so, help them realize they can have an impact far exceeding the boundaries of their homes.”
He interviewed me recently on the topic of fatherhood. I’m no expert, but we spent. If learning more what we do that works (and doesn’t) would be helpful for your family, it’s worth a listen.
Bonni and I did mention marriage at the beginning of this week’s show, but then turned our attention to the Coaching for Leaders community.
We responded to questions on influence without authority, open door policies, using the MBTI, and more. The audio and full show notes are posted on the Coaching for Leaders website, along with all the resources we mentioned.
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