Imagine a portrait of your favorite leader. What image do you see?
Is it Winston Churchill resolutely staring the imminent destruction of his country in the face and forging ahead?
Maybe it's Oprah Winfrey standing next to Nelson Mandela at the groundbreaking ceremony for her Leadership Academy for Girls in Southern Africa?
Is it a steely-eyed Steve Jobs manifesting the future out of the pure force of his will?
Or what about Martin Luther King, arm raised towards his mountaintop, as he makes prophetic pronouncements from the steps of the Washington Monument?
Well, I see a different picture.
I imagine Churchill lying with his head in the lap of his wife Clementine, in a rare moment of fatigue and vulnerability. I see Oprah breaking down in front of her partner, Stedman as she contemplates the fates of 200 kidnapped Nigerian girls. Or Steve Jobs embracing his past in the form of the living and breathing Lisa (Jobs). And Coretta Scott King nursing Martin back to health after a bad flu that has completely shattered his magical voice.
Point being that leaders need love too.
Leadership is an amazing attribute. It has the power to move and motivate people. But love, as many poets have stated throughout history, has the power to move mountains.
We all find ourselves in moments of weakness. It is impossible to be perpetually strong. And when we do inevitably crash as leaders, there is no better way to rebound than to fall into the arms of a loved one - whether that be a significant other, family member, friend, or children. I had a rough couple of weeks recently but after spending quality time with my favorite person in the world, I returned to work completely reenergized and ready for the new tasks ahead.
It may be cliche to say, but love truly does conquer all - failure, fatigue, and fear are weak enemies by comparison. That's also why the more you love what you do, the easier it is to lead and take others on the journey with you. So when the going gets tough, try and remember that you are not an island and you are not alone. Not only do you have people in your life to pick you up when you are down, but finding and harnessing your passion and love for your work can make it so you always have a team to help you forge ahead.
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