I start every morning with a coffee and an inspection of the water conditions. And today is no exception. I live on a lake during fair weather months. And for those months, I want flatwater. As do my fellow rowers.

Although I row alone, and I prefer to, I’m part of an obscure community of like-minded rowers. When we talk about rowing, it ranges from the mental to the physical, from the philosophical to the transcendental.

But this morning, I have more everyday matters on my mind. How to inspire an intern who recently joined the team. And in visualizing the conversation, my mind naturally returns to rowing.

Early in my rowing career, if I wanted coaching, I’d call a local club like Durham Boat Club or Craftsbury Sculling Center. And they’d set me up with a private or semi-private session with an Olympic athlete or a US Team member. It’s true. And these masters were nothing less than evangelists. They worked effortlessly and passionately to bring their students along.

These elite performers not only improved my rowing technique then, but also continue to influence my technique today. The wisdom they imparted on me was simple. And timeless. One word of advice has taken me fifteen years (and counting) to practice.

So today when I talk to my intern (and everyday in my community of colleagues), I want to resemble my rowing teachers. Keep it simple. Keep it timeless.

Then perhaps they’ll remember what I have to say.