The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Really?

RL Practice of the Month

RL Practice of the Month-August

The apple doesn’t fall far
from the tree. Really?


The nugget of folk wisdom contained in this familiar saying may seem quaint to the point of being more myth than fact. But there is an accumulating—and by now conclusive—body of research that has documented the extent to which both “nature and nurture” conspire to shape the person we are. We “inherit” both our strengths and our vulnerabilities from a combination of genetics and epigenetics, from our DNA and from environmental factors such as the emotional patterns passed down to us across multiple generations of our family tree.


Increasing awareness is the essential starting point for improving how you show up as a leader. Grow your self-awareness (by personal observation and from conversations with family members) of the automatic, inherited family patterns that drive how you interact as a leader at home and at work.

Try It:Gather information about the topics or situations that “trigger” an emotional response from you. Make some choices:

  • Think to Yourself – “Am I triggered when someone challenges my authority, or my knowledge, or my motives?” What else? Be specific.
  • Ask Others – Ask a few family members and a few colleagues– “What are 2 or 3 topics or situations that you notice trigger a reactive response from me?”
  • Look Across Your Examples: Where is there commonality in your triggers or reactive behavior as seen by yourself or others? Is it possible that something in your past (either family upbringing or other life experiences) makes you especially vulnerable to this trigger?
  • Ask Yourself: “What changes will I make to have more self-command when triggered?” .

Would you like to know more about leading with calm, clarity, and conviction?