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5-Shot Friday: Building Your Avengers Team

Welcome to the Inauguration Day edition of 5-Shot Friday, a continuation of the 1/13/17 post.

Due to space constraints, Principle 5: Build Your Avengers Team had to be pushed to today. The “fifth shot” is arguably one of the most important principles to hit the New Year running and keep it humming, whether your goals are weight loss, improved BP or cholesterol, or any other key area affecting your health.

And with the controversy surrounding most of President Trump’s Cabinet choices, building your superhero support team seems a particularly timely topic (and in the 5-point format you’re used to).


1. Why A Team?


Basically, because you can’t go it alone.

Next question.


2. Seriously, Though


As I alluded to last post, we all have days when everything we bring to the day is barely enough to survive it mentally intact. And some days, everything we have isn’t enough.

At those times, a kind word from a colleague may be all it takes to hit the reset button. Your perspective pulls back, you take a look around, and realize, hmmm, not as bad as I thought. I was digging myself into a narrow deep hole, I can stop digging, sheesh, what was I thinking.

No “Team You?”

No fresh breath of perspective across the frontal lobes – unless you luck out and a random someone happens to give you an attaboy. And getting out of the moody gray twilight and back on track is too important to leave to chance.


3. Plus, Force Multipliers


If all you ended up doing was erasing those times when you went off the rails, that’d be an achievement in itself. It takes something like 20 minutes to get back on track from a minor social media stray. Think how much more productive you’d be, how much less precious energy you’d burn, if you had colleagues that could nudge you back on track when you had a major brain fart.

But that’s just the beginning.

A well-chosen Team can be a force multiplier: magnifying what you do well, far beyond the reach of what you could do alone. You have to sleep, you get tired and fuzzy, and you have downtimes. So does your Team, but their downtimes are usually offset from your own. What you begin, they can run with, like runners on a relay team.

A great Team also is strong where you are weak. Maybe you are great with finding solutions to tough problems, but not so good at explaining how your fix will work; if your teammates excel at communicating and marketing, the odds of fixing just went from so-so to practically a certainty.

This points to one of the most fun aspects of an Avengers team: assembling it, like picking your personal favorite superheroes or your draft picks for your fantasy football team. YOU get to choose the strongest people for your weakest areas, which are usually the areas of your greatest perceived needs. You can argue over whether shoring up your weaknesses or playing to your strengths is the better strategy, but the point is, with a strong Team, you can do both.


4. How Cool This Can Look


Let’s say you’ve already assembled your dream team.

They have some degree of expertise in areas of interest to you, but where you aren’t as strong – for example, say you’re interested in personal fitness, and several of them are coaches, Paleo and vegan chefs, food and neuroscientists, and former military.

Wondered about the science behind a ketogenic diet, how it might work to reduce cancer risks? You can text your food scientist friend, and get a quick summary in seconds, and links to reading material in minutes.

Read a story about exercise turning on genes that can extend lifespan? A conference call with your coach buddy and neuroscientist, and you’ve vetted the idea (it’s true) and have a tailor-made training program that you can implement immediately.

Strapped for time and want to know the top 3 exercises to do if you want to maintain “first responder” fitness (real world, save someone from a burning building, make it out of a Twin Towers situation, fight off a bad guy and his two buddies type fitness)? Two phone calls and a you-buy-it-we’ll-talk lunch later, and your Navy SEAL friend and firefighter trainer are more than happy to show you their top exercises and the stories behind why it’s THESE and not THOSE.

You can dig around using Google, and sift through what feels like the entire Internet…or you can get trusted, focused, actionable guidance from people who’ve been there, done that, and are still around.


5. But, I Don’t Know Any Navy SEALs


This is another example of The Great Being The Barrier To The Good. I don’t know Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or the SEAL Team 6 leader who’s so Top Secret we could tell you his name but we’d have to kill you…so never mind building a superhero team.

Wrong answer.

It’s enough to start with people of good cheer.

In fact, the positive, can-do, attaboy or attagirl vibe is THE most important quality, way more so than world-class expertise in a given field. It helps you not at all to have top of their class experts on your side who are Debbie Downers. If they can cite chapter, verse, and journal citations on why you SHOULDN’T get out of bed in the morning and explore your idea, they are not helping you.

Think for a moment: do you know people around you who can tell you all kinds of reasons why something won’t work, and why changing the status quo is too costly to even think about? I bet it’s easy, since that describes most of us at some point: just let me do my job and go home.

Now think: who are the folks who are routinely positive and intrigued when you pitch a new idea? Whose initial reaction is, That’s an interesting, out of the box idea, I’m not sure how that would work but let’s run with it a bit and see what comes out? There are fewer of these folks – you probably only know a couple, and they’re (not surprisingly) probably pretty well placed in their organizations because they know a thing or two and make things happen.

You want to solidify relations with the second type of individual. Even if they’re not tops in their field, if they know more than you, you’re better from knowing them than you were before.

Final translation: if there’s a direction you need to pursue, include Principle 5 to Hit The Ground Running In The New Year. Get To Know People Of Good Cheer Whom You Already Associate With that know more than you do about that area. Then wash, rinse, and repeat.


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Peter L Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle.

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