How many times a week do I ‘take the bait’? What I mean is how many times do I respond to emotion with some of our own and achieve less than the desired result? How do I stop it?

On the last mile, on the last day of a grueling, 10-day canoeing trip in the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada with one of my sons, he snapped at me and I barked back at him. In other words, I took the bait..

Then, I back-tracked and said ‘this is the last day of a great trip and let’s finish it that way. I’ll change my tone and I’m asking you to do the same…’ It seemed to work.

For context, we could see the finish line – the Boy Scout base and all that entails – a hot shower, good food, and a soft-bed. The hurdle though was a strange cross-current and strong wind producing 2-foot whitecaps that if approached incorrectly, would likely capsize our loaded-down canoe, with its edges only inches above the water.

This stress, caused by the elements and frustration, caused by a disagreement on the best approach to make it back to base, caused both of us to allow our human nature get the best of us.

Human nature is to take the bait. How do you resist when someone dangles bait in front of you? What’s working for me is focusing on using my best self in each interaction. It’s not giving in to human nature. When push comes to shove, I don’t.

What do you do instead of taking the bait? What language or process or measurement do you use to resist human nature?

Why does it matter? In my opinion, authentic leadership isn’t instinct or human nature, it’s character….

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