We Missed the Exit to Chick-fil-A
I’m back home in Central Maine where the people are wicked sharp, the Humpty Dumpty chips are wicked good, and the air smells like Christmas trees. (See pronunciation guide below.)
“Wicked” is an amplifier for a person from Maine. Regular folk might use “extremely.”
We successfully crammed the seven-hour trip from Albany, New York to Abbot, Maine into eight hours, which wasn’t bad considering we drove in a circle for thirty-minutes. Our two grandsons, Abe (10) and Asher (13) rode with us.
Learning to manage your influence is one of leadership’s great opportunities. I need to take you back to our trip to explain why it matters.
You should know that my wife doesn’t drive like me. She’s a defensive driver. I’m an offensive driver. So I wasn’t happy when she missed the exit for Chick-fil-A in Massachusetts.
We chose Chick-fil-A because it’s Abe’s favorite restaurant and today is Abe’s birthday. We decided to start celebrating yesterday on the trip. Here’s what I noticed.
When I’m joking around, others are laughing and smiling. When I’m stressed, because we missed an exit, the ride is no fun for anyone.
You’re not at your best when you’re stressed. A little stress makes you alert. A lot of stress makes you stupid. Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid.
Influence means your behaviors matter. The people around you – to some degree – reflect you.
When you’re stressed, they’re stressed. When you’re happy, they tend to be happier.
Influence principle: Negative influence takes less effort than positive.
How might leaders manager their influence?
“In order to pronounce “sharp” like a Maineiac, replace the “r” with an “ah”. And “oo” in “good” is hard like the “oo” in “Mr. Magoo”.
Looks like Piper Pond is great place to reduce stress, and help others around you be happier! 😉
Good one! It’s a great place to be less of a control freak. 🙂
Welcome home young fella!
Thanks Brian. So funny, I often use young fella when I talk to coaching clients “How ya doing, young fella.” I can call lots of people young. 🙂
Yes, Attitudes are contagious, and leaders are always on a stage.
Great way to put it, Bob. Thanks for jumping in.
Re-frame the issue
1. We will definitely be stopping at Chic-fil-A on the return trip hope.
2. Abe–you get to pick what we have or where we go for dinner.
Anger narrows our thinking and focus.
Leaders set the tone.
Thanks Paul. We like chick fil a too!!
You are so right, anger narrows.
Your authenticity and openness has made my day a little lighter and brighter. Nothing like getting a message across sharing your own stories. Thank for sharing and yes, I am saying “good” and “sharp” out loud in my best Maineiac voice in the office with my partners. Thanks for making our day!! Happy Birthday to Abe!!
What a great reminder, Dan, that we’re SERVANT leaders. Your blog reminded me of Rick Warren’s observation that, “It’s not about you!” He went on to say that, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions.” It’s too easy to envision the world and everyone in it orbiting around my life for my comfort, my support, my preferences, my desires, and my needs. Leaders should manage their influence by breaking out of their personal bubbles to value those around them and intentionally consider their impact on others. I needed that!
Thanks, I needed that reminder and the vacation I am starting tomorrow.
Manage your influence by first as you hint, managing your stress the best you can. When you manage your stress you take more control over your life and therefore you can help your team better succeed. Better said for me after many years, harder said for me with fewer years. I guess it really is about experience and learning. And I’d be just a little pissed I missed the Chick-fil-A exit cause it would mean taking the next exit and back tracking yes for the chicken but those shakes are to die for!!!!!!
Your column today really resonated with me not only on a personal level but a professional one as well. I clicked on your article at first because I love Maine (I am from MA but very close to the NH/ME border and say ‘wicked’ a lot!) and as I started reading I could totally relate – it’s my mood as Mom, Wife, Caretaker that tends to set the tone at home and can put all in a negative tailspin. As a perpetually positive and happy person, it’s very hard for others when my mood takes a negative turn. My influence is sometimes greater than I am aware of. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday to Abe!
I wish I totally understood this as a Father. I have been better as a Manager…or a Leader. I will try to perfect it as a Grandfather.
Thanks for the real-life/real-important lesson Dan.
This resonated with me:
“You’re not at your best when you’re stressed. A little stress makes you alert. A lot of stress makes you stupid. Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid.”
Wise advice and a good reminder.
Such a relevant message for both professional and personal relationships. One person with influence has the power to completely change the mood – it takes many people with less influence to turn the mood around. But I have also learned that some nuggets with Chick-fil-A sauce make a good foundation for mood improvement!