I had a scare yesterday when one of my kids was hurt in a sports accident. It was serious enough that I stopped in my tracks, advised my team of the situation, and sped to take care of my son. As I was driving to him, not knowing exactly how badly he was hurt, my mind was racing. My internal dialog was jumping from telling myself to remain calm and think positive thoughts to just trying to focus on getting to him quickly and in one piece.
Sure, I was scared, but I know it’s important to try to be strong in situations that are unexpected so that I can make the best decisions possible. When I first saw him, all I wanted to do was cry and fall apart. But, I held it in and gave him reassurance that he would be fine and that this situation was not as bad as it appeared. Several hours later he was taken care of and on the road to recovery.
I spent most of the night awake, worried about him and it gave me time to reflect on the entire situation and how I wanted to react vs. how I reacted. It was a choice. It also made me aware that leaders go through these moments all the time, myself included. The misconception is that all leaders are strong. The truth is that leaders have moments of weakness and doubt like everyone else, they just dig deep and find a way to step up to the risk or challenge and set the tone to keep everyone else calm and on target.
So today, if you reflect on leaders you have admired in your career, I think you’ll see that they were not always strong. They had moments of doubt and times where there was not a clear path to follow. The were able to overcome those fears though and be someone other people could look to for guidance and stability.
If you’re a leader, whether at work, in your home, in your community, give yourself a little break. Even the toughest leaders have moments of fear. It’s what you do with those that make the difference.