Leadership Turbulence, Fear and Inadequacy

In a true and open conversation with a dear mentor, I shared my truth: I am inadequate.

… I feel like my business lacks progress; I’m not sure how to navigate some of the challenges ahead.

… My marriage dissolved and the divorce is close to being finalized. Meanwhile, I recently ended a great relationship because of so many things on my plate.

… I’m not leading my employees the way I should…

The list of perceived inadequacies could go on. At times, I feel like I have no idea where I am going. How can I teach leadership if I feel like I can’t lead myself?

After listening to all of this, my mentor said, “Once you accept that you’re inadequate, then you are in the right spot. You are trying to do too much on your own and once you give yourself permission to not know everything, you can seek the partnership and collaboration needed to support your mission rather than try and create it in solitude.”

It felt like a breath of fresh air.

“The only time you’re going in the wrong direction is when you stop. You don’t get to know what happens around the other corner,” he said.

“When you get really good – you don’t have to know. Knowing what’s around the corner is less important than walking around the corner and believing in your ability to navigate whatever is there.”

I’ve learned leadership isn’t about doing everything yourself or ‘knowing what’s around the corner’. It’s a matter of being confident you’ve put the pieces in place to succeed regardless of what lies ahead.

“This is what I hear – you’ve got a great business that’s having an amazing impact, employees you love, happy children…” my mentor continued.

“The only thing wrong is that you don’t know what’s next. There’s nothing wrong with that.  People who play their whole lives safe, scared to walk around that unknown corner ultimately get destroyed from the inside out. There is no such thing as safe – it’s an illusion. You can get slowed down, even knocked down but you can’t be destroyed – that will only happen if you stop.”

This was what I needed to hear.

As someone who constantly lives looking through my own lens of “not enough,” it’s important to remind myself of all the times I’ve responded to pain, uncertainty and obstacles by mustering the effort to put the next foot forward.

If you’re like me – feeling like you’ve got a lot on your shoulders, keep walking.

Embrace your inadequacy as an invitation to enroll partnership and collaboration from those you trust.

I’m now striving to see that the completeness in my inadequacies can’t be filled through the constant dwelling on what’s not ‘right’ within me, but instead, what’s ‘right’ surrounding me – waiting to blend into a complete and perfect next step forward around the unknown corner.