Being a Leader is not just about the mountain-top moments, with sun shining, birds chirping as you succeed and win. Where everyone wants to be around and everyone is a friend.
Being a Leader is also about watching what you put your blood, sweat and tears into, swan dive off a cliff in horrific majesty. It is then about experiencing those who’ve just watched what happened and who you’ve lead, turn around and say to your face (or with their actions): “You’re DUMB/STUPID for making that decision! Everything that’s ruined is your fault and we hate you!”
It’s mostly about the latter part.
It’s also about then putting on your muck boots, rolling up your sleeves and wading into the destruction of your beautiful plan and “managing” it. Sometimes you can fix it, most times you can’t and sometimes you can get somewhere between fix and total loss and make it tolerable if not ok.
It’s also about doing a ‘Situation Autopsy’ while you’re filthy and in the trenches managing things, to understand exactly how your decision resulted in this catastrophe, how it affected the folks you’re leading and what you may be able to do to prevent this from happening again.
Being a Leader is about long sleepless nights spent weighing future decisions and options, deciding who best to seek advice from, understanding your decision and knowing what standing behind it and going forwards means.
Being a Leader is understanding what messages your actions and inactions convey, taking responsibility and owning it whether the outcome is good or bad. Especially when it is bad.
Being a Leader is knowing that not many are qualified to lead you but recognizing those who are and allowing yourself into their fold for a season, always understanding that you will learn what you can from them in an honorable way but that you will soar on your own once again.
Being a Leader is lonely because you often have to make decisions for those you lead that is what they need and not what they want which often times causes animosity. It is lonely because not everyone being lead wants to or is ready to hear what you have to say, even though it will benefit them in the long run. It is lonely because most times, no one can understand the breadth, depth and scope of what you need to consider before deciding something.
Being a Leader is about leading those who don’t know they need to be lead, knowing how to lead those who are Leaders in their own right, knowing when to intervene and when to sit things out.
Being a Leader is time spent learning, digesting what you learned and applying it with as little disruption as possible.
Being a Leader is about sincerely saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it. Especially when it’s your action that caused their pain.
Being a Leader is about knowing your weaknesses and understanding how those who wish you harm will use them to their advantage.
Being a Leader is hearing folks deny you, deny what you’ve done for them/for their benefit, discounting your feelings and saying things like: “I wouldn’t be the one to do that….Better you than Me… Why are You wasting your time/energy on that lost cause?! I couldn’t be bothered…” … then getting up and having to kick ass, often all by yourself, in the face of these disparaging comments.
Being a Leader is knowing when and how to cut your losses. It’s doing the hard work of digging yourself out of your personal ditch, cleaning your own Self off and choosing to save You in that moment because dying is not an option, though you wish it were.
Being a Leader is quiet work, with no fanfare and no audience. It’s showing up for yourself when no one else will or knows how to. It is giving yourself a pat on the back or a break.
Being a Leader is bruises and burns, dirt and grime, thanklessness and enemies in the midst. It is not for the faint of heart or the fickle. It is not something you do, but something that you are. It’s inconvenient. It’s often painful and generally of no reward. But you are it because you can’t imagine being anything else.
So, are you a Leader or nah?!