A local clergy leader told me years ago at the beginning of my career, “The higher you rise, the thinner the air and the lonelier you are.” She encouraged me to establish a network of people (some call these folks friends) with whom I could be my authentic self and share my deepest thoughts. I am still working on that!
When you are in a leadership role, no matter your stage of life, you are expected to know more than you do and can rarely acknowledge your limitations. This is where I’ve seen leaders stumble. I am not sure where I first heard the statement, “A lot of us think we’re invincible, but we have to start putting ourselves on the to-do list,” but I know it’s important for me. I take the time to reflect on my personal leadership and how it impacts those around me. While I may not have close personal friends, I do have mentors, leaders, and people I allow to speak into my life and expand my perspective. My thinking is challenged often because of the richness of my network of mentors. When you can admit as a leader that you are not invincible or infallible, that you’ve blown it from time to time, it’s liberating!