I’m a young leader, but I’ve been younger. I’m not the most mature leader, but I’ve been far more immature. I am not a fully developed, wise leader, but I do try to remain teachable.
In the moments where I can’t see beyond myself, where I can’t find any honor or respect in my heart because of decisions that were made, or where my rage and lack of understanding is getting the best of me, this is what I tell the young leader in my head.
Don’t Choose The Bitterness
Don’t do it – don’t die here. This battle is not worth the fight. I know this one was unfair. I know that you believe you knewhow to respond better than the leader above you did. I know you think you knew the right decision. I know that they made those decisions without your input. I know how deeply it affects you and the people you lead. But, young leader, don’t die at the stake for it. Don’t waste all your energy and adrenaline trying to convince them that they are wrong. Don’t write a passive Facebook post or Instagram story.
Don’t talk to those you lead about how incompetent the leaders above you are, for you will be giving those you lead permission to say the same about you.
How you choose to honor today will sow the seeds of how people will honor you later. Every time you choose to disrespect decisions that you have no control over, you choose to taint your lens. You choose to now see through bitterness, anger, resentment. You choose to drink the cup of bitterness that you don’t need to consume. You choose pride because now you can only see through the lens of yourself, your pain, and your hurt.
Don’t choose pride over honor. Don’t choose bitterness over contentment. You, young leader, are far too valuable for that.
Even still, young leader, I know that one hurt. I know that board meeting was not what you planned. I know you feel like your boss set you up for failure, instead of success. I know you feel betrayed – I know that one was painful, the soul penetrating kind of pain. But if there is one thing I could encourage you to do, young leader, it would be this: acknowledge it. Acknowledge the pain, the shame, the frustration, the guilt, the disrespect.
Don’t run from this. Acknowledge the pain that you felt when the leader you respected the most betrayed you.
Acknowledge that it hurt when they chose that other person for the promotion over you. Acknowledge that you did want to shed a tear or two when they discredited you, your ideas, your design, your influence. Please do acknowledge it all.
Wrestle with it, yell about it, fight in your soul with it, but don’t you dare respond out of it. Don’t you dare let it define you.
Acknowledge it so that you can process it without it processing you. Deal with it so that your soul doesn’t deal with it silently on its own. Own it, but don’t let it own you. Don’t let it define you. Don’t let it take your identity – don’t let it touch your soul. You, young Leader, are far too valuable for that.
Don’t Leave Yourself Here
I know it’s been hard to walk through, but don’t compromise your soul for this one. Did it offend you? Yes. But is it worth your leadership? Is it worth taking off the lens of confidence and putting on the lens of insecurity? Is it worth questioning every decision you make because they didn’t want to hear or agree with this one you walked through? No, it’s not worth it, young leader. It rarely ever is.
Don’t leave yourself in this place of questioning.
Carry yourself back to a place of confident standing. You must, young leader. It can’t be a mistake that you’re here because you’re still standing. It can’t be hopeless even though it looks hopeless – don’t give fear that power. You are more than the product of their decision making.
You are more than a strong personality. You are more than what their actions say you are.
You are more than you see yourself to be in this moment, so don’t leave yourself here. You, young Leader, are far too valuable for that.