And We’re Off…

At the time of this writing we – Flat Glen, Flat Glenda, and myself – are somewhere between Atlanta and Buenos Aires.  Getting out the door of my house was no small task.  It involved packing, strategically eliminating, rearranging, and repacking a couple of times.  Despite all of the advice and packing lists passed on from previous cohorts, it was still sort of hard to know exactly what to pack for Antarctica.

In the process of packing, Glen and Glenda got misplaced – tucked inside the cover of my underutilized journal for safe keeping.  Needless to say, the prospect of losing them before I left and the thought of having to completely unpack everything to find them was enough to insight near panic.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to dig too deep before finding them.  We now have an established and dedicated place for them to stay in my backpack.  The irony of them being lost in my journal is not to be understated – they would have been very safe in there for a very, very long time.  I think this may be the universe’s way of nudging me to take my reflective journaling practice a little more seriously.

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For the non-dog people in the crowd, feel free to skip this paragraph.  Leaving Curtis behind was also a bit tougher than anticipated.  He was clearly not happy when the suitcases came out and the packing started.  He kept giving me these looks that just tugged on my heartstrings.  If only he could come with me, but as those who know and love him know, neither his size, nor his behavior is amenable to any sort of travel or structured activities.  Fortunately, he gets to stay at the house and will be in great hands while I’m gone, but I miss him already.



I want to follow-up on one of my prior blog postings about the leadership coaching we received this year.  We completed a leadership diagnostic test and received 4 coaching sessions.  On one hand it seems a little weird to publicly share these results, but I’ve told enough people about them that it’s really not a big secret.  And, while this may seem very egocentric, I have found the results to be quite interesting and insightful.

The diagnostic used was the LSI.  It was a roughly 250 questionnaire that was completed by me as well as by eight other individuals (who took the test about me).  These included people who I work for, people who work for me, and my coworkers. The test is reported as a 12-part circumflex which is divided into 3 major sectors – Constructive Styles (Blue), Passive/ Defensive Styles (Green), and Aggressive/ Defensive Styles (Red).  At first glance, and generally speaking, it is desirable to score higher in the Constructive Styles.  We were provided information about each of the 12 traits and the circumflex prior to receiving our test results. I received my individual score during my first coaching session and my group score at my second coaching session.

Needless to say, I was hoping to be mostly blue, but this is how I see me.

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While a little disappointed, once I truly considered the various traits, it seemed to make sense. And, after all, this was in the context of a coaching program, so it was good to have areas needing improvement.

But then a month later, I got my group results.  And this is how others see me.

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Seriously?  How does that happen?  I think many of the participants in the program had similar experiences in that their personal results were quite different than their peer results.  So, the challenge for me, at least as I see it as this point, is to spend less time worrying about how others see and perceive me and to spend more time in the space of constructive activities.  Stated that way it seems very basic, put into practice, it’s a bit more challenging.  It isn’t easy being green…

It is also interesting to be armed with this knowledge as I head off to meet the rest of the members of my cohort.  I’m hopeful it will have the result of allowing me to spend less time worrying and second guessing, and to spend more time fully entering into the experience of the program.  More to follow on how that works out!!


Other prep work for the trip included making a quilt square.  On the ship the squares from each participant will be woven together.  It’s been fun to see the diversity of everyone’s squares in progress (as shared on social media) and the unique ways in which each of us has approached this task.  Here’s a picture of my square.



Each of us will also be expected to participate in the Symposium at Sea (S@S) once on board this ship. This is an opportunity for each of us to share what it is we do back home.  Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is limited to a 3-minute talk and only 3 slides. I think most of us will only begin to scratch the surface of our work, but at 80 participants the total presentation time amounts to 240 minutes plus time for questions and answers, so the 3-minute time limit makes sense.  The S@S is intended to stimulate deeper, more informal conversations between participants and facilitate networking within the group.  I plan to focus my talk on one patient as an illustration of what it means to be a Pediatric Surgeon in the US.


Once I arrive in Buenos Aires, I have a taxi transfer between the international and domestic airports.  I fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.  We will have 2 ½ days of program activities in Ushuaia before setting sail on 12/31. Our route to Antarctica takes us across the Drake passage.  Last time I looked, the seas were predicted to be 2 – 3 meters.  Hopefully it stays that way.

Will keep you posted on activities in the days ahead.


By the time I got this posted, I transferred airports.  Here’s David my taxi driver with Flat Glen and Flat Glenda.


5 thoughts on “And We’re Off…

  1. Ok. I was already primed for tears at the look on Curtis’s face and then when I saw your quilt square (did you really use sutures?) that took me over the top! 😢


    1. Wait until you see the final version of the quilt – it won’t appear until one of the final days of the voyage – now you’re stuck reading until the end…


  2. I think that since we can hear our inner dialogue we think others have the same impression of ourselves as we do. Turns out that we are way off according to your objective data. 👍🏻


    1. So I learned about the Shitty First Draft on this trip. It’s the dialogue we create, then believe, and then act on. At the end of the day, it’s just shitty and totally inaccurate!


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