I Hide My Chocolate

Midlife observations

Tag: Leadership

Food Matters

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A Leader Is What A Leader Eats

You know, I think it DOES matter what the president eats.

You’ve probably heard by now about his preference for over-priced well-done steak smothered with ketchup. It’s been all over the news and twitter. And the reaction has been intense and varied, ranging from “What a classless rube!” to “Let him eat steak. We have more important things to worry about!”

Indeed we do.

But…

Imagine, for a moment, how much leadership he could provide – just by what he eats. Imagine the week of dinners he could choose, if he were inviting, authentic, adventurous, a role model, a proper host, humble, inspirational, a leader.

Sunday

Tonight I’m having a supper club dinner with a group of immigrants who have invited me to try their traditional dishes. I can’t wait to welcome these families who are new to our country and to taste new foods!

Monday

Meatless Monday! Scott Pruitt and I have decided to set a good example and go meatless one day a week. Eating less meat has a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Tuesday

Working late. Exhausted. I know I’m in a food rut, but the meatloaf here is wonderful. I wouldn’t want to force it on you, but I highly recommend it. Comfort food at its best. Reminds me of my mom.

Wednesday

Dinner with Ivanka. She’s been on me to lose some weight and eat more healthy. Damn it’s hard. All those dinners out! But, I need to eat more healthy for my kids and my grandkids, not to mention my country! I don’t want to die of a heart attack. Ivanka tells me the Mediterranean diet is healthiest and the Sardinians live to be 100. I’m going to have some grilled fish with a little pasta and vegetables. No dessert! Sugar is evil. But I am going to have one glass of red wine and an espresso so I can send some late night tweets.

Thursday

I’m having a bi-partisan dinner for all the new members of congress from both sides. You know, reaching across the aisle so we can get some legislation passed! I’ve been trying out new chefs for the White House. Tonight’s chef will be preparing an all-American meal made with all-American ingredients from our all-American farmers. American food is great!

Friday

New restaurant night! I like to try new restaurants instead of the same old same old. There are so many wonderful restaurants with creative and adventurous menus. I find it inspiring to try something new at least once a week. Plus, I get to support small businesses and help create jobs.

Saturday

Ah, happy to be in Mar-A-Lago, my favorite retreat. I am so lucky and grateful to be able to travel back and forth every weekend and catch up with Melania. A long-distance relationship can be tough! We’ll have dinner here and I’ll have the well-done steak smothered with ketchup. I know it’s not the healthiest nor the most gourmet, but it’s my favorite. I’ve cut way back – haven’t we all? My dad and I used to eat steak together and this is how we ate it. Thanks Dad for giving me my start.

Imagine! What leadership he could provide, just by what he eats.

Image Source: The USDA’s http://www.foodpyramid.com/myplate/

What Is A Leader?

martin-luther-king-jr-watercolor-portrait-on-worn-distressed-canvas-design-turnpike

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many years ago, a new boss of mine insisted that we read Jim Collins’ From Good To Great. It was a collective exercise to encourage us all to think about leadership and to develop our own “Level 5” leadership qualities, as we worked to transform our organization from good to great. The main take-away that I remember from that book is that leaders are humble and put their own self-interest behind what is good for the company.

On this day – honoring Martin Luther King Jr and anticipating the inauguration of someone I think is the antithesis of a leader (let alone a Level 5 leader!) – I am reminded of this book and the path it set me on towards clarifying for me what makes a good leader.

As a yoga teacher, an executive, a mother, a human – I have thought long and hard about what makes people successful and how I can embody the qualities that I value. I marvel at the teachers and bosses and friends who elicit the best from all the people they touch.

These are the qualities of a good leader that inspire me and motivate me.

  • They are teachers. They are patient and explain things well and have no judgment that you should already know something. They are learners, always curious.
  • They are listeners, willing to consider opposing points of view and to grapple with reconciling opposing points of view.
  • They have struggled and are not embarrassed by their struggles – because their hardships make them more approachable and more compassionate. More grateful.
  • They care, passionately, about something. They work hard and will sacrifice at great cost for what they care about. They approach their passion with joy.
  • They make mistakes and can laugh at themselves. They let you make mistakes and don’t make fun of your mistakes. Well, if they laugh at you, it is with affection and understanding.
  • They make other people feel special. Asking questions, listening, and honoring each person as they are, right there right then.
  • They are honest. They do the right thing. They tell the truth and say what needs to be said. Even if it is hard.
  • They are optimistic, confident in their purpose. They foster a team environment and celebrate the holistic gestalt of the team. They are cheerleaders, inspiring and motivating you to be your best.
  • They are inclusive. Every person counts and has a voice. Every one is invited.
  • They are generous. They are kind.

Image Credit: Used with permission from Dave Bowman at Design Turnpike. Thank you!

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