Gentle Bamboo Solutions

Drink when you’re thirsty


A few years ago, at the end of the Boston Marathon, an athlete collapsed and died inexplicably.

The ability to finish a marathon race, which is a 42.2km run, is already proof of good physical health. The Boston Marathon is an elite race in which only the absolute best of the best quality. It didn’t make sense that someone at the peak of physical health just died of fatigue.

The medical reason assigned to the death of that athlete was Hyponatremia which is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in the blood is too low. Symptoms include nausea, headache, confusion, and fatigue – and in some cases death.

On further digging, it came out that she was consuming water at every stop to stay "hydrated". While many professional marathon coaches suggest a hydration strategy, they invariably also mention to not consume too much water.

There are other physicians who suggest something simpler. They say, "The body knows when it needs water. Thirst a clear enough signal that you can’t miss it."

I’m no medical expert, but I like that advice. Drink only when you’re thirsty. Even the life-giving substance called water can literally kill you in excess.

I have two suggestions based on the lessons to learn from this story:

1. When you’re doing training sessions, replace the word "water" with "questions/opinions" you ask from your participants. Sure questions are good and even necessary in moderation. Overdoing the "facilitative" approach will kill the impact of your session.

2. In the second analogy, look at all the available free or low cost "knowledge/training" as "water". Once again, it is necessary to grow your business when used in moderation. Spending too much time on just learning new skills is going to kill your business opportunities as well.

Use this metaphor when you are approaching either training sessions or your business growth.

Water is good. Drink it when you’re thirsty. Don’t consume too much water.