Smile And Nod

I learned the value of this Standard Operating Procedure from a colleague of mine at Schwab. It entails never pushing back regardless of how unreasonable the request, and only later surfacing the constraints. That way you become the invaluable go-to person and never get pegged as a naysayer.
This morning I embraced the SAN SOP when I agreed to join my friend’s running group.
Let’s clarify: I run. I just don’t do “endurance” runs. But, I figured, how hard can a little extra distance be?
Only in the car – en route, committed – did John throw out these remarks:
  • “If you studied the trail posted online…” (“study” the trail? ah…right…)
  • “The grade ascends consistently for the first 6 miles.” (note the use of “first”)
  • “There is an extension option because the main course is only 11 miles.” (note the use of “only”)
  • “The fact that it’s trail running sort of selects out who will be there.” (I had no idea what this specifically referred to, but got the sense that trails must be scary)
Smile And Nod. Smile And Nod. No problem!
But, in merciful face-saving fate, the Running Demon of Sun*Sans*Shade led even the “ultra” runners to condescend to their own humanity and join me in stopping at various points along the way.
So really, I am just like them. I could do a 50K in my sleep. Dreams, that is.
This is not me.


  1. You did great! Tough trail on a hot day.

    But you didn't mention that great views–or did you not notice?

    And you didn't mention the plunge into the ocean afterwars–oh yeah, that was just your feet that made it in.

    Smile and nod.

  2. I have to start working on my smiling and nodding. My typical MO is to start listing all the objections and reasons why "it" will not work. Good job on making it and not turning back on the run.

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