Can a writer be out of words? Today, that is how I feel. With each stroke of the keyboard, there is a small miracle that words are actually being typed out. Normally, I struggle with knowing which of the many topics and issues flowing through my mind I should devote my time to, but today is different. What has changed? Writing is my life; it is how I replenish myself and it is how, hopefully, I serve those around me. Yet, today I just want to crawl into bed and tell myself that I don’t matter, that writing is a waste of time. Of course, we all hit roadblocks. We all find ourselves wondering if we are getting any closer to our dreams, we all questions our motives, and we all have days when things just seem pointless. The trick is to recognize when we are at a weak point and figure out what needs to be done to strengthen ourselves and eliminate the roadblocks in front of us. As leaders, we want to always put our best foot forward. The problem is that sometimes we just don’t have a best foot. Call it burnout, exhaustion, or fatigue: it happens to everyone and often without warning. Our natural instinct is to put up our walls and defenses and plow forward. We are weak, but we can’t let anyone know. If we are too weak to hide our moment of imperfection, we hide ourselves.
Hiding is not always the best option. You only hide from what you are afraid of. That means that when we give in to the kneejerk reaction to put up our defenses, we are giving in to fear. More importantly, we begin operating in a state of fear. Operating in a state of fear prevents us from making proper decisions. We become defensive and we push the people away that we actually need to help us move forward. A moment of weakness is just that: a moment. All we needed to do was ask for help and be honest and sincere with those around us. But we almost always choose to hide. Once we make that choice, fear takes over, and often times never let’s go.
How many of us constantly operate in a state of fear brought on by realizing our weaknesses and trying to hide them? It took me a half-hour to write the first paragraph above, but now the words are flowing freely. My inability to write was brought on by fear. Fear of showing weakness, fear of thinking no one will read this, or no one cares. Once I admitted that and faced the fear, it held no power over me and I could quickly move on. Hiding is what one does in the dark, but being open and honest sheds light on our fears and illuminates the path forward. Leaders can’t hide in dark corners and still be effective. If you find yourself tired, exhausted, and ready to give up, perhaps the problem is that you actually haven’t started walking yet. It is extremely hard on the mind and body to hide, crouched, awkwardly trying to avoid really being seen. We all have moments of weakness. What defines us as people is how we react to that moment. Will you hide and cower or be brave enough to face your vulnerabilities head-on and overcome them?