We will often recognize people for their strengths – and we all want recognition. But we actually relate to people through their weaknesses – and what we really need is relationship.
I’m currently reading David McCullough’s biography of John Adams (650+ pages!). It’s a powerful story. It’s difficult for me to put myself in the shoes of this lawyer, diplomat, political theorist, Founding Father, first US Vice President and 2nd US President. Amazing accomplishments. Unbelievable time in history. Hard to relate to him as a real person.
But then I read this line that Adams wrote in his diary as he made the journey to Philadelphia in 1774:
“I wander alone, and ponder. I muse, I mope, I ruminate. We have not men fit for the times. We are deficient in genius, education, in travel, fortune – in everything. I feel unutterable anxiety.”
Now there’s a man I can relate to.
Perfection is hard on relationships. Authenticity is much easier to relate to. But that’s not what many of us work toward. We want the recognition of doing things right, of being seen as a success. We don’t want to let anyone else see us bleed (while we bleed on the inside).
Part of the process of building my business, Lifelong Leaders, is defining what that term means. I know it has a lot to do with being real in each and every part of life. It takes a brave person to be real when people only post pictures showing how together their life is. So I invite you to be brave with me:
- Sharing about your struggle, being brutally honest and admitting your weaknesses is incredibly unusual in our world.
- When you are real about who you are and what you wrestle with, it gives other people the space and freedom to be more real about their own lives.
- We are drawn to real people. We want them in our lives because we actually yearn to be more real and authentic in our own lives as well.
- Not everyone will react positively to your authenticity. Because it’s so rare for us to see someone share the raw, unfiltered parts of ourselves, some will be fearful and may withdraw.
You may not consider yourself a leader, but being the truest version of yourself is a leadership quality. I am learning this in so many ways. It sets an example that others can then follow. When we can honestly (and appropriately) share about the struggles in our life, it opens the door to share in the struggles of others. We call that relationship.
What keeps you from sharing your struggles with others?
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