I am saying this as a mantra to leaders with open hearts and souls: We are leaders having a human being crisis.
We are up to our eyeballs in the primordial mud of self-righteous thinking, addiction, narcissism, and unconsciousness. It is not pretty when we are wrestling in this mud … it is messy, exhausting, and brings up our primitive fears which means that we humans can act inhumane. Toward ourselves. And others. These are unsettling days, at best, and it’s a tough time to be a human (pretty sure it has never been easy) and yet we double down on our inhumanity worshipping at the altar of all-things-numbing while shutting the door on God. And as a result, our true selves.
So … how do we, as leaders, get out of this mud pit intact and become more whole emotionally and spiritually?
How do we connect during this time of collective what-the-hell? There are no fail-proof easy steps to connection. If someone tells you there is, run for the hills. Fast.
Yet this is what I know for sure: connection starts deep within. If you can’t connect deeply with yourself, it is difficult to create and sustain meaningful, healthy connections with others. You might be able to master the cocktail talk, the small-talk, the look-at-me-enough-about-you talk. You might be charming, charismatic, fun, and personable. You might post about your storybook life yet in these times we need connection-warriors not deflection-warriors.
To be a connection-warrior, we start with the work we might not want to do: the inside work. And … if we don’t, the mud pit can become our forever-home; there are a lot of people in the mud pit, so you won’t be lonely, yet you are not going to lead with light, courage, and your most loving, fiercest self.
To do the hard work we have to dig deep into the stuff we hide away: the dark, slimy, would-rather-forget stuff.
The longer we ignore it the stronger it gets; you will not be the exception. This is the way our stuff works: it is a strong, relentless beast that will take us under while it savors the damage it does.
On some of the hardest days here, my son looks at me and says, “Did you call your sponsor? Therapist? Anyone?” I know he is calling me out because he needs some relief from my “helping” (aka control), my “suggestions” (aka fear), and my “observations” (aka self-righteousness). And so, this is what it means to be led by a man-child who is doing his own inside work; it downright makes me mad and absolutely gives me hope because it points back to the only thing we can change: ourselves.
Over the next several blogs, I will share the six “finds” I have discovered – as a result of mistakes and loneliness, grief and overwhelm – to deepen self-connection as we lead and live through all the sunrises and sunsets of our days:
- Find You
- Find Your Tribe
- Find the God of Your Understanding
- Find Your Stuff or It Will Find You
- Find and Embrace Mistakes
- Find and Embrace Recovery
When I share these thoughts with people in the C-suite or folks sitting on my porch, there is an exhale because, together, we recognize there is a way to be more fully human: a path forward that enhances our leadership and that moves us from lost to found, from control to leadership, from fear to love.
Join us; this is not a DIY life.We have saved you a seat.