Sometimes being the leader sucks. This was one of those weeks.
Amidst a flurry of changes within my organization, add lack-of-knowledge-turned-gossip perpetuating through the mass, I felt defeated. The worst part of all is when your motives, so genuinely positive but sadly misunderstood, are put into question. Asking myself hard questions, considering why I was working so hard and why I cared so much about what others thought. I sat in frustration, contemplation, and I’ll admit… moments of being pissed.
There are times when choosing to be the leader is the most unglamorous route.
Leadership includes making difficult decisions, doing things for a greater good that can’t always be seen in the present, but will be the choices or risks taken that are the future well-being of the company. Yet no one is calling you hero in that moment.
And quite frankly, sometimes it blows.
You get criticized. You doubt.
You pick a path to move forward. At times you’re right, other times you’re wrong. The reality is that you have to make decisions that will make you be unpopular somewhere. These times you feel as if you can’t win.
Fingers may point. Decisions are misunderstood.
So we question ourselves, whether we are good, whether we are doing the work that matters.
We clean up the messes, hear the gripes, absorb the tears, take the punches, close our eyes and act anyway.
Deserved or not, we often eat an incredibly large slice of humble pie. Sometimes our own successes come back to bite us as business morphs and our roles and responsibilities change. It’s as if we’re fighting ourselves.
And as in any field where you rise up and become more visible and influential, the stones cast at you potentially get larger. The stronger you appear to be, the more that get thrown at you. Of course you can handle it, you are the leader after all.
Then you experience that breaking point. There are moments when you want out. Someone else please take the wheel…My arms are weary and my feet ache.
Occasionally, a carefree existence, one without the weight of discipline or burden of decisions starts to become appealing.
If you’re lucky, you have a mentor or someone to lean on who believes in you, who will guide you through this, telling you to trudge forward and that your heart is in the right place. But not all of us have that. Some of us lean on books we’ve read, quotes we’ve memorized, and things we’ve learned how to tell ourselves.
Every leader, or entrepreneur, or anyone embarking on big things in their life feels this way from time to time. It’s tempting to be a passenger once in a while. Responsibility is heavy.
And after all the falls and all the doubts…You rise up.
You remember why you chose this path. Because building people, helping them through life’s curveballs and showing them their own potential gives you meaning.
Being someone’s strength when they need something to stand on, unfurling courage and tenacity that existed inside of them, but without you, it would lie dormant and unknown.
Your ability to hold your head up through those trials of adversity, stand tall for what is right, and follow your beliefs infuses strength to them when they fall, inspiring them to get back up.
You provide vision helping people see further, dream larger, run longer, dive deeper.
Stepping forward in this grand responsibility, to shape others, nurture their well-being, and protect the home you’ve built them grants you a larger purpose.
Watching the journey of someone’s transformation inspires you. Pride radiates within you as you know you had a hand in this. Making a real difference. You.
You realize leadership isn’t perfectionism after all, but rather your ability to bounce back after the screw up.
It’s being willing to put yourself out there, to risk and to make public mistakes.
It’s understanding that our screw-ups make us more accessible, and thus our achievements inspire others.
Weak moments are not defeat. They are leadership’s clever teachers that allow us to re-evaluate, humble ourselves and identify new areas of growth.
In a very real and tangible way, you are changing the world, someone’s world, guiding that potential and breathing life into it. You created something. As you witness the family you’ve curated, this culture of acceptance and camaraderie that existed not before you, you are proud.
- And then someone says they couldn’t have done it without you.
- She tells you that you inspired her.
- He says he took what you taught him and applied it to his personal life and you made him better.
- Their hearts show you they’re now part of something bigger than themselves.
And much like that moment people must feel when they meet the eyes of their newborn baby for the first time, it all comes together.
When you sit back and watch the world in motion around you, one that you helped create, and you watch the people you developed effectively implement the skills you taught them, you played a part in helping them become better people.
Of course it’s worth it.
Yes, leadership isn’t always easy… But I certainly would not have chosen any other route.