It’s not easy being a leader.
Taking the lead in any venture or initiative asks that you make yourself vulnerable to criticism. Seth Godin explains why it’s so difficult to lead in a recent blog post.
“The hard part is showing up to lead.”
He goes on to say, “We’ve been indoctrinated to join a ‘safe’ venture instead of seeking out something worth leading. It’s easier to be sceptical than it is to say, ‘I’m leading.’”
We often think leadership is reserved for a select few. That’s simply not true. But society likes to promote the idea that we all have endless capabilities and to succeed, all we need to do is try. That’s arguably not entirely true. Yet, knowing our limitations and still pushing the boundaries of our abilities is how we learn, develop, and grow.
Leadership requires no special skills, personality, experience, or pre-qualification of any kind. You’re 100% allowed to step up and lead any cause, project, or movement. We’re all leaders in some area of our lives. Whether you’re a mother, a teacher, a brother, or in a boccia team, you’re a leader. Often, we’re leaders unaware we have followers. Still, regardless of your status or standing in society, leadership — in your sphere of influence — is open to you.
However, be aware, leadership takes courage. You must be brave. You’ll be challenged. People will try to pull you down. You’ll have to dig deep to strengthen your resolve and resist the urge to throw in the towel. This is when so many leaders believe they should harden their hearts. As more people try to trip you up and stifle any progress, you respond by being less generous and less empathetic.
Generosity, care, and empathy are at the heart of great leadership. They’re signs of a soft heart.
When we harden our hearts, we close off any possibility of learning and growing. So many folks are consumed with trying to take care of themselves, they’ve hardened their hearts to the plight of others. A hardened heart has little patience for the meek and marginalised. Each to their own and take care of “number one”. Survival of the fittest and, “too bad, so sad” for the rest.
There was a time I believed leaders are born. There was a time I believed only men could be leaders. There was a time I believed people of colour are inferior to me. There was a time I believed people chose to be gay or lesbian. There was a time I hardened my heart to anyone different to me. There was a time I stood in awe of anyone showing leadership. There was a time I chose to follow.
Somewhere along the way, God softened my heart.
I learned the decision to lead is available every day. I now know, pitching up is half the battle won. Being prepared to be vulnerable and open to leading, brings leadership roles to you. Each day brings the opportunity to be generous and show empathy, to make things better in the world.
I can’t think of a better time to leap first and lead with a soft heart.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏