I recently had the pleasure to visit the Liberty City campus of a new-age education concept created by Daniel Puder, a former WWE, and MMA heavyweight fighter. MyLifeMyPowerInternational Prep Academy School System is an emotional intelligence and mentorship-based educational community dedicated to the academic, physical and social growth of all students by teaching to the “whole child” and fostering an environment where significance breeds success. Daniel’s staff of education professionals conduct daily classroom instruction to approximately 60 middle and high school students utilizing an innovative curriculum that includes job/interview and health/wellness coaching as well as after school programs and summer camps. This is one of three similar schools in the South Florida area with three more being developed for next year.
I was asked to speak to the students about leadership, so I dusted off my “what’s in your sock” discussion from my chapter on competence in our book Leadership from 30,000 feet. Needless to say, they all looked at me in amazement (including the instructors) when I asked them who had their socks with them today and what was in them. After I explained the concept of their life sock, the discussion became interactive and we talked candidly about what each one of us was putting in our sock.
I explained to them that when we come into this world our sock is completely empty and we are dependent on our family to take care of all our basic needs. As we grow up, we start learning from life lessons that we put in our sock so that we can draw on them when similar events occur in the future. Only when our parents feel we have enough in our sock to venture out on our own do they allow us to go out of the house to play with friends and eventually go to school. This is where our sock really begins to fill up. The key is to fill it with the right stuff.
School is where we are taught the very foundation of leadership by learning the skills of followership first! We took some time at this point to list the key skills of a follower, namely:
1. Subject matter expert; attention to detail
2. Ethical and moral character; integrity first
2. Member of a team with passion and drive for a common goal; daily excellence
3. Relationship building with peers and supervisors alike; humble and approachable
4. Loyalty to the team’s goals; selfless service.
All of the experiences we have from developing these followership skills in our early years must also be accompanied by honest and specific lessons learned that must also go in our sock. It does no good to remember a life experience without the associated lesson that emanates from it. When we are young, most of our lessons come from mistakes or errors in judgment. But, if we are putting the right things into our sock and draw from them when making future decisions, then our lessons should start becoming more from successes than failures. This is how we mature into productive citizens and future leaders. Those that learn from their mistakes and successes earlier in life become leaders well before their peers. We also discussed how you can increase the content of your sock by taking the lessons from the experiences of your family, friends, teachers, and mentors. In this way, you can have a geometric increase in your sock which will put you way ahead of your competition.
I’m hopeful the students will always remember this life concept when they conduct the menial task of putting their socks on daily. I want to thank Daniel for the kind invitation to visit the school and the opportunity to share with the students something that I carried throughout my life-my sock. I provided a link below to information for those who want to find out more about MLMPI.