Leadership Insights by Kathy McCrum

The new decade roared in fast and furious for me. How about you?

I rang in the new decade with my peeps, surrounded by a breathtaking alpine wonderland.  I intentionally set some important ground rules for myself that had big impact on my vacation time.

Leaders need to grab the opportunities we can to unplug and decompress. It might sound cliche, but I guarantee you that many of us don’t do this enough. Yet when we do, we feel much more satisfied, grateful for our holistic lives, and fully ALIVE!

I personally found myself more at ease when I came back to work at the beginning of the year – refreshed and recharged - a content wife, mom, and mentor.

As an executive leader, you might be surprised how often I am taking leadership lessons from my kids!

My kids inspired me big time on this trip. They have the unique ability to truly know their ski limits, without allowing fear to be a factor.

Kathy #3
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I learned to ski when I was a young adult. My kids, on the other hand, learned just last winter, and I continue to be amazed by their resilience, courage and grace on the slopes.

My 8-year-old-daughter and I ended up on a steep ice-covered slope. I immediately panicked and started to think about all the things that could go wrong, I forgot to trust myself and my abilities, and I was worried sick about her. She remarkably began to take some control and coached ME down the icy patch. She skied down to me, reminding me of all of the things her instructor had told her, asking me some questions that eased my mind, and then had ME follow HER. [Read:  "Like, Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!"]

I learned from my daughter that day. She was my teacher, and helped me adjust to the real-time situation and the conditions (just as I do everyday in my professional life). Kids are full of wisdom and passion. We can learn so much from them when we allow ourselves to.  She reminded me to stay true to what I believe - even on the slopes - Don’t fear FEAR.

Skiing w kids (Medium)
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On our vacation, I was also reminded of the importance of creating memories with cherished girlfriends.

We went on this trip with our friends and their daughter. The best ‘true ski moments’ I had were on the morning of December 30th when my kids were in lessons and my friend and I I decided to split off from the guys to ski together. Having convinced ourselves to get to the peak - with some apprehension - we made it to the top and experienced a magnificent sight and moment in time, together. We shared the crazy, natural beauty at the top of that mountain in awe and agreement that we would both remember the surreal and beautiful snowy trees we saw that day without taking pictures. We did, however, manage to sneak in a quick selfie to capture us together on that day and the memory we created. We skied through the best snow on the mountain, and had wipe outs that still make us laugh. We never made each other feel slow or incapable and connected more deeply through some pretty rich conversation on the ski lift (I wish I could take my professional conversations to the ski lift). We were ski partners.

Like so many things in life, it is incredibly fulfilling to create deeply meaningful and memorable connection with someone while accomplishing something awesome.

Find the space to unplug, find your ski partners, and go for it!


Kathy McCrum is a senior leader deeply rooted in exploring the potential of creativity to cultivate a high-functioning team culture where up-levelled personal responsibility and unleashing ‘More You’ at work are the norm. Learn more about Kathy here.

Learn more about the PowHERhouse AMPLIFY program for senior leaders here.

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