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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Sep 19, 2018

Positioning yourself for failure is not normal, but it can be enlightening. Jim and Jan are both big proponents of getting a little scuffed up now and then. In this week’s episode, they tell their personal stories about their biggest challenges, and the lessons they learned once they were on the other side.


Key Takeaways

[1:24] Jan recounts the story of a mountain bike crash that broke his knee. He remembers feeling pain, embarrassment, anxiety when it first happened and he was at the mercy of his rehabilitation. He got through it, and 14 years later and still riding, he is grateful and thankful for the lesson on patience.

[5:59] Are you giving yourself opportunities to get scuffed up, push your limits and go beyond your safety zone? When you think about what is really scaring you, is it also holding you back?

[8:12] Jim reflects upon his time in college at University of Illinois. While enrolled in the College of Engineering, the Dean told him in order to switch to the Business School, he must get his grades up first, which happened to be not so easy for the young student. He knew he needed to put the pedal to the metal, and wrestled through the struggle and embarrassment of having trouble in class. In the end, he learned a lesson in humility, hard work and had some fun while getting a few solid C’s.

[13:56] As a leader, you have to create your own crucibles and let people go through theirs. As parents, managers or supervisors, it is natural to want to try and help them.  Letting people struggle will make them better and stronger, and give them a sense of grit.

[20:26] Excitement lives outside of the comfort zone. While physical challenges are a great way to expand your limitations, you can also break out by conquering your fears emotionally and mentally.

[21:35] Jan is preparing for his upcoming 12 minute TedTalk, “Suffer Everything, Dare Everything. Why Difficulties Matter”. This is a prime example of getting out of the comfort zone.



  • Sometimes we have to be a patient, to learn the lesson of patience.
  • There is something about getting scuffed up that may actually provide enlightenment.
  • Are you doing enough things in your life where you have the opportunity to get scuffed up?
  • We do have to create our own crucible. That’s what hardens and strengthens us.
  • Lead less. Let people make mistakes and learn from them.
  • What are you scared of, and why aren’t you doing it?



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