Shed Your Skin

February 1, 2024

I had the pleasure of working with a colleague on a trip this past week and with that trip came a delightful home cooked meal at her home. The family meal included time with the teenager who lived in the house, my colleague’s son. He is a terrific 16 year old who has a pet snake. Meet Walter. He’s small and quite cute.

Snakes shed skins and we humans do too. But beyond our skin cells getting loofahed off our bodies through our showering, there is so much more we shed as we develop and stretch.

This is me being metaphorical. Here we go.

As this website suggests, “Put simply, snakes shed their skin because it doesn’t fit anymore or because it’s old or worn out.” (Italics put in by me)

Can you see where I am going?

“Many factors can affect how and when snakes shed, including species, age, weather and temperature, nutritional health and the presence of bacteria or parasites. While shedding their skin is part of a snake’s growing process, it has another purpose as well. It helps remove parasites that could harm the snake.”

Hmm…the metaphor continues…what do we need to shed that harms us?

“Before a snake sheds its skin, it begins to look somewhat bluish in color and its eyes look opaque or clouded over, because the newly formed skin will cover its eyes, according to Washington State University’s Ask Dr. Universe. They can’t see well during this time, so they sometimes find a safe place to hide out until they begin shedding.”

Time with a close colleague or other human and finding other safe containers to shed skins is so key…it’s scary stretching at our edges. We need safe spaces.

“Snakes start the process of shedding their old skin by rubbing against a rock, tree or similar hard surface, Ask Dr. Universe reports. They typically rub a spot by their snout, so they can then slip out of their old skin by wriggling against rocks, plants, and similar surfaces.”

In what ways are we intentionally working with creative abrasion and intellectual friction in order to stretch at our edges and grow into who we are becoming? Let’s celebrate shedding of old skins!

  • What skins have you shed?
  • How have you changed in the last year?
  • Now that you have changed and your eyes are less opaque, what is becoming clearer to you?
  • What have you shed from your previous iteration that you would like others to understand so they can work with you even more effectively?
  • Has something become more or less important to you at this time because of your shedding?
  • Where you need some creative abrasion around your ideas/beliefs/opinions so you can grow even more?

Be like Walter. Let’s grow together. Join me.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions or need a safe space for some intellectual friction and shedding please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Cool Resources

Seek: How Curiosity Can Transform Your Life and Change the World by Scott Shigeoka “If you’ve felt alienated and alone in recent years, you’re in good company. Whether it’s a rift in your family, polarization at your workplace or just a sense that society isn’t as connected as it once was, many of us feel painful chasms in our connections. Internationally-recognized curiosity expert and bridge builder Scott Shigeoka knows that there’s only one cure: Deep Curiosity.”

Talks at Google “Talks at Google is a leader in the corporate interview series space, providing a platform for influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers to tell us about their work, their lives and what drives them to shape our world. We host talks virtually and physically across 30+ Google offices worldwide, and often record and release these talks publicly.”

Cultural Reads “Your platform for books, music, and movies from countries around the world.”