April 27, 2017

The Not So Naughty Lesson I Learned From Madam Butterfly

Some say, the butterfly swim stroke is the best exercise. While others say it’s the worst exercise invented. Before meeting Madam Butterfly, I was in the worst exercise camp.

The butterfly or just the fly, burns more calories, demands larger doses of oxygen and elicits more fatigue than biking 14-miles an hour or running a 10-minute mile. If you could actually sustain doing it for longer than 30 seconds, you could loose more weight and gain more muscle than any other exercise. The problem — the fly is hard to learn, hard to master and even harder to swim.

My fly used to be like an Orca whale leaping out of the water — the whole pool could feel my wake. I would be lucky to last 25 yards without having to catch my breath. Enter Madam Butterfly.

Sometimes The Truth Hurts

It can sometimes be tough to take criticism. This stems from our egos getting in way of our growth. When someone bluntly or subtly points out our weakness, it can sting a little.

Knowing the truth about what we are bad at is the only way to grow as a leader and as a supporter. When my teammate told me that I looked like an Orca whale doing the fly, it was a little shocking but totally true. I sucked at it and if I wanted to get better, I would have to swallow a little pride, put my ego in check and listen to her as she showed me the proper technique.

Everyones a Teacher

Teachers are all around us. You can learn from anyone, no matter their position, stature or lot in life.

Realizing this makes developing yourself a lot easier and frankly way more fun. Learning from a diverse set of people makes the learning experience much more enjoyable. Everyone has something to offer — you just have to tap into it.

Everyones a Student

Conversely, there is no person that knows everything. We are all students. Our development and continued growth depends on being diligent students of our craft. The leader who does not learn and grow will not be effective. The world around us is always changing and that change requires learning new skills, digesting the latest trends and keeping a sharp eye on the latest technology.

Helping Others, Helps Ourselves

When we help others, we deepen our bonds, strengthen our knowledge and hone our skills. The act of taking the time to assist a fellow human is a gracious act that reaps huge rewards.

As we help others, we realize that we are helping ourselves master our own skills. This happy consequence makes us better.

Be A Humble Student

I’m a lot better at the butterfly simply because someone had the compassion to point out my flaws, took the time to teach me, corrected my mistakes and encouraged me to practice. This may seem trivial but the implications are vast. By showing me how to master a touch skill, Madam Butterfly taught me so much more.

Her kindness to reach out and spend her valuable time was a simple yet gracious act. More of us need to embrace our inner teachers. Even more of us need to be eager students.

There is plenty to learn and all of us need to teach and absorb as much as we can.