I have a number of beautiful incredible people in my world in the public eye and prominent leadership positions within various communities and organisations. My husband and I have been in such roles ourselves throughout the past two decades. I been involved in and witnessed many dynamics. Wonderful, powerful, progressive. Devastating, soul-destroying, dishonouring and down-right disrespectful. No community or organization can lay claim to perfection, regardless of how much they desire to be. Nor can any person.
Many aspire to positions of influence and responsibility. Some enter into such roles well prepared. Others may be not so ready. Regardless of preparedness on a cognitive or skill level, there is a common theme I’ve taken note of. This one area is what I want to reflect on here. My hope being that perhaps I may raise just a little more awareness. Awareness for those in leadership and prominent positions. Awareness for those who have loved ones, friends or acquaintances in such positions.
Because I believe wholeheartedly that human beings, despite their role description or title have ONE very important thing in common.
We all have a need to be heard. A need to be validated. And a need to express real emotions. People in prominent positions and leadership are no exception.
Let me set something straight here. I am not referring to false or fictional ‘fluffy-talk’ that builds people up to give them an unrealistic, skewed view of themselves or their circumstances. And I’m not advocating being a blubbering mess 24/7 with an inability to achieve anything at all. That would be pointless. What I am referring to is valuing people. Truly valuing them. At the very core valuing a human being.
Having a position description, a title, even a specific career path or ‘calling’, does not make someone exempt from feeling and experiencing the highs and lows that being in leadership and doing life with people can bring. Working with people is rewarding and satisfying. It is also incredibly demanding and heartbreaking at times.
I’ve noticed, and experienced personally, some have a perception that leaders should not OR cannot ever share their real feelings because it would bring them into disrepute. Perhaps even change people’s perception of them. Maybe invoke fear of appearing ‘weak’ in the eyes of some. Thoughts of never recovering if that ‘can of worms’ is opened, plague them. And so the cycle perpetuates. Many of ‘those’ people are in positions of leadership themselves. Tormented and imprisoned by the battles they encounter in their inner world.
The inner world of the leader burdened by a weight so enormous and heavy, believing they cannot, or maybe don’t need to share with anybody, is a sure path to a very dark, treacherous, emotional downward slide. There may be so many reasons why particular leaders find themselves in such a place. It wouldn’t be right to make light of any one of those reasons. We all have our stuff. We also each have a responsibility to ourselves to work through our ‘stuff’ from our past, no matter how near or far that is, or what it looks like.
Everyone needs someone, at least ONE TRUSTED PERSON that they can share openly and honestly with. EVERYONE. It’s a non-negotiable. To flourish and really LIVE the full life each of us are designed to live, we need to commit to shining a light into those dark places that keep us locked up. It’s unwise to share with just anybody. It’s unwise not to share with anybody.
I want to encourage you if you are the one in leadership or in the public eye, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by the load you’re carrying, REACH OUT to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone you can genuinely trust, seek out an experienced professional to walk with you as you share, as you unpack the challenging moments and emotions that are hidden inside of you, weighing you down. Finding that ‘someone’ may be the difference between you sinking into an emotional mud pit, or swimming through your current challenging season.
If you are a family member of a loved one in leadership and you see signs that they are weighed down and burdened by something you may or may not be aware of – listen to them, validate them, and encourage them to seek out help.
There are too many wonderful, valuable people losing their spark, their quality of life, their sense of purpose, even their very lives because they believe they cannot, for some reason, share the emotional weight they carry.
Of course, no one can be forced to seek help or share the burden hidden inside of them. But there is a point when awareness comes, and it is there that a choice is made. To seek help OR not to seek help. Not one of us can exist as an island, physically or emotionally. It simply IS NOT POSSIBLE to do this journey alone. If living the FULL LIFE you’re designed to live is the goal, reach out for help.
Can I encourage you. YOU are most certainly WORTH taking a risk for. There is someone ready to HEAR YOU. There is someone ready to AFFIRM YOU. There is someone ready to journey this through WITH YOU. Reach out today LEADER. You can share that load. It will bring a lightness and freedom to your inner world as you take that first courageous step.
With you on this journey,