Late and ready…

This past week I asked a number of teams to write out the hardest thing they’ve ever done or the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through. And, how they got through it. This question came from Doc Potterat (former SEAL psychologist). Asking the SEAL candidate what’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done was his go to favorite interview question. I highly recommend you trying it on, leader, with your next interview. Moving on…

During one of the team practices where this question was being answered, we had a late arrival. The young man sat down and tuned into his teammate who was halfway through his hardest thing story. I turned to our late arrival and told him the drill and asked him to go ahead and start to think and then write the story of his hardest thing. Without so much as hesitating, he told me that wouldn’t be necessary. He knew his hardest thing. He was late and ready…

You see, he remembered the exact moment he got the call from doctor death and heard the ice cold words – “You’ve got Stage IV colon cancer.” Stage IV colon cancer is usually a quick, painful, death. He was told these words back in early 2002. This was his 9/11 moment of truth. He survived by luck and good docs at the Cleveland clinic, he told us. Funny movies got him through it. That and a girl who moved to be with him. And, I’m sure there’s much more to the story. We only got the tip of the iceberg. Knowing this story, however, has given me another window into this man. He told his teammates and me that this battle was the catalyst for his cynicism. Now he makes more sense, at least to this 58 year old outsider.

What’s the hardest thing your teammate has been through, friend? How did they get through it? In this hyperstressed world we occupy, many of your teammates, leader, are in the middle of the hardest thing, at least in their mind. Maybe, just knowing, you could be the kinda man/woman to help pull ’em through. How freakin’ magic would that be, friend?

Thanks, cancer survivor, for helping me understand a bit more of your story. Thank you for coming in late and ready. Good..

2 thoughts on “Late and ready…

  1. I have been reflecting on how I can have more meaningful Unit Practices – it’s a new Unit containing tenured Associates, new Associates I have invited into our firm and Associates fresh out of college starting their first post-graduate employment experience – my answer has been found – my Unit does not know each, in the sense of really knowing each other – that journey will soon continue and perhaps asking this question will lead to understanding each other a bit more intimately and allowing for better , more meaningful relationships – my fear? What if it doesn’t? Perhaps that will help me find my next opportunity. DD

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