Take the Plunge!
If you have ever shied away from cold water, jumping into a freezing lake might not be top-of-mind when building new leadership muscles. If it weren’t for Dee Hein and her recent new interest in cold water swimming for many health benefits, Matt Fioretti, an accomplished outdoor leader, would have never tried it. Something pushed her to try it, and ultimately it inspired him to try it.
As humans, we lean into what we perceive as our best skill. At 23 years old, Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast to date, but you don’t picture her performing the tango because she didn’t seek to be a dancer. Someone else perceived her as being a potential champion on Dancing with the Stars. Despite her career achievements and physical capabilities, she came in fourth place. She was no longer an individual contributor going for the gold - she had a partner on the dance floor that she was equally responsible for.
Matt Fioretti is one of the most passionate coaches for climbing, trekking, and people new to both areas of interest. He has been leading advanced climbs and trekking in the Himalaya’s for over 20 years without a single high altitude sickness incident because of his steady leadership approach. He has toughed some of the most technical climbs globally but still found the idea of cold-water plunging nerve-racking. Someone else perceived his cold water tolerance, the same way that Matt creates the possibility for the most inexperienced hiker to believe they can conquer high altitude - not for the sake of altitude, but so they can see the great wonders of the world.
Acquiring a new skill is uncomfortable. It requires patience and commitment. Just like Simone is uncomfortable with dancing, and Matt is very uncomfortable in cold water. They had to be committed to obtain the skill in order to pay it forward.
When we perceive our domain knowledge as a destination, we abandon the journey. We forfeit future possibilities for ourselves and our community. Do you “perceive” yourself as an expert of your domain without a need to stretch further? Can you see yourself doing something out of your traditional way of thinking? Do you jump on the opportunity to try something when a friend, colleague, or stranger suggests it even though your narrative looks something like, “I would never do that; it’s not what I normally do”?
Enjoy the Journey
Leadership is mystifying. It’s alluring. Leadership isn’t about mastering a skill, checking the box, and declaring victory. It’s a mastery - a continuum. It’s a scary narrative in our minds that only we create that holds us back from being and sharing our best selves. Pushing yourself requires trusting others and stepping outside the box from the narrative you’ve enslaved yourself to. Perceive yourself as an experiment of leadership. Make a declaration to lead no matter how small or great you define it.
Leadership comes in many forms. Leading a healthy life is one of the most essential skills to pay forward with your team.
Spend the rest of the day on a high, knowing that you pushed yourself with a new skill that you never perceived possible until now, understanding how others were inspired to do the same.
About the Author
Trina Bergquist is passionate about being the voice of the customer and driving technology partnerships. She has cross-discipline experience spanning multiple industries in technology. Her 15 years of experience includes leading strategic programs on the client and agency side with companies such as Apple, General Magic, Levi's, Nike, Microsoft, Motorola, Sony, Bell South, AT&T, Razorfish, and Digitas with an emphasis on AI, ML, and speech recognition.
Trina is a senior customer engagement and channel development strategist focused on customer-centric organizations who thrive on driving value through emerging technologies. Extensive experience across multiple industries in technology, end-to-end digital, partner channel marketing. A pioneer and life-long advocate for artificial intelligence and speech recognition. Able to forge critical partnerships needed to drive measurable business outcomes for both client and agency side.