Byron's Babbles

Living & Leading Like A Lobster

As a believer in lifelong learning, I believe we must all find ways to expand and grow. As leaders, it is also one of our most important duties to provide these opportunities for others. Otherwise we become stunted and are not able to grow as a person or professional. In Lesson #33, “Lobsters and Egos,” in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader, author John Parker Stewart points out that we can learn from the lobster. 

Additionally, Stewart pointed out that we can use the stress and discomfort of growing and learning to help us cast off the old and make way for the new; just as the lobster goes through a process called ecdysis. Stewart also compared the lobster’s shell to our egos. Here is my spin on what I learned from this story:

As the lobster grows its hard shell begins not to fit. If the lobster does not get rid of this shell growth will be stunted. Therefore, the lobster goes deep among the rocks and finds a safe place to go through this molting process of losing the old shell and growing a new one that fits. Obviously the lobster is very vulnerable during this time. Just as Stewart compares this to our ego during times of learning, trying or taking on new things, or taking on new and expanded responsibilities. Furthermore, just as the lobster must shed its shell, we must drop our ego and become vulnerable to learning and growing. 

Think of it this way: times of stress, learning, growth, and times of questioning the old ways are the stimulus for growth. The rigid shell of old ways of responding needs to be cast off to produce new ways of responding and being.

The good news about your friendly lobster is that when the new shell is in place the lobster is, once again, strong and can go do whatever lobsters do in the ocean. I really believe that being uncomfortable and having some are the best ways to learn. This is a good signal that it’s time to learn and grow. Break free from outdated patterns and find new meaning in your career and life. As leaders we must do this for ourselves and provide this for those we lead. We must, however, provide the safe place, just as the lobster finds for itself during ecdysis, for our people to do this learning.

Are you making space for healthy and adventurous way to live, learn, and grow for yourself and your team?

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