On Fitness, The Hannibal Plan, and Vivid Communication

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Communication, How To, leadership on January 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm
Who knew that my cardiologist was also an amateur military historian?

Who knew that my cardiologist was also an amateur military historian?

There I was,* waiting at the doctor’s office sitting up on the examination table.  A piece of that fancy tissue paper was under me and I was glad that I had remembered to bring along a book to read.**  The examine went well and I was happy to hear that all was coming along pretty well.

Except — of course — it was after the holiday season and every doctor across the land wants most patients I know to eat better and lose a little more weight.  The prescription: DIET & EXERCISE.  But this time my cardiologist started doodling on the piece of tissue beside me.

We spoke of keeping track of calories.  We spoke of how many calories equated to a pound of unwanted (ugly) fat.  We spoke of intake (nutrition) and output (exercise).  There’s nothing new on these topics.

But what I remember about this check up in particular was that my doctor spoke in metaphors and started citing classic military battles and strategies.  Who knew that my doctor was also an enthusiastic amateur historian?

Hannibal’s defeat of the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae became a double envelopment of my unwanted fat.  Diet & exercise represented a coordinated attack on both the left and right flanks (my flanks).  Then we spoke of other grand captains and other strategies.  Grant’s superior use of interior supply lines became an integrated approach to balancing workouts, diet, and recovery through sleep.

Chalk up one point for superior bed-side manner and another point for vivid communication.  Chalk up another point for my doctor who listened to my concerns and paid attention to who I am and what I do for a living.  This retired military officer and present day graphic facilitator left the doctor’s office impressed and better informed.


* Beginning a story (or blog post) with “There I was” is a technique used by story-tellers and old soldiers everywhere.

** I’m currently reading David Sibbet’s VISUAL LEADERS on a Kindle-Fire.  This book was started after I recently finished Dan Roam’s BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.  After seeing Dr. Khalid Abousy combining his sketches and well-chosen words, I’m convinced that both David Sibbet and Dan Roam are onto something epic with their most recent works on the power of visualization and vivid communication.

  1. Just great. Now I spent my entire lunch hour Wiki’ing Battle of Cannae, Punic Wars, Hannibal and War Elephants. Who knew!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: