A Leader's Real Power: Vulnerability

Recently I participated in a leadership retreat near Lake Michigan focusing on renewal. The purpose of the retreat was to teach how to offer renewal to others. The first morning I got up early for a walk on the beach and discovered a very unique stone in the shape of a heart with a hole in it. This rock became a metaphor for change that I continue to wrestle with.  

Something that I have always affirmed and know to be true hit me again in fresh way.  As a leader, I can't offer renewal for others unless I experience it myself. Social researcher Brene Brown talks about vulnerability as the place where real power lies.  The question is, as a leader, do you ever let others see your imperfections and needs - that you are hum`an?  

The following is an excerpt from my journal:

A Hole in My Heart

There's a hole in my heart

formed by constant pressure life demands

Like water shaping and passing through rock

Sometimes when I stop to notice

I am human

I see the hole; vulnerability, doubt, fear

constant striving to prove I am worthy

I tell myself, "Be strong!  You've got this."

But noise silences the soul 

from speaking it's truth into my reality

this reality

I try to hid the hole so others can't see

Projecting adequacy, leadership, proficiency

Covering my heart with hands that serve

as if others can't notice

my unmet need for significance and belonging

But the hole's still there

as if waiting with baited breath

for someone to notice;

emptiness, longing

for renewal

Finally, I open my heart to others

only to discover they too have holes

Heart's like mine needing to silence the noise

to hear the voice that says,

"It's okay.  Let go.  Stop trying to carry

the weight of the world."

There's a hole in my heart

formed by constant pressure life demands

Like water shaping and passing through rock

and today I notice, embrace it, share it 

wholeheartedly

I am human.