An important component of leadership is the willingness to be real—to admit not knowing, to admit fear, to admit doubt. I believe that a range of BOTH assuredness AND vulnerability is what makes a GREAT leader.
I write these words as much to remind myself of this as to remind you. In the process of birthing the WiRL Leadership Summit, I’ve been bumping up against a ton of fear, doubt and uncertainty! These feelings are nothing new.
I can think back to multiple occasions over the course of both my work and personal life that have provoked intense self-doubt—becoming a wilderness expedition leader (“I hope nobody dies on my watch”), getting married (“I hope my husband never falls out of love with me”), speaking in front of large groups of people (“Will they like me?”), coaching stellar executive leaders (“Will I be able to help them?”), becoming a mother for the first time (“Will I be good enough?”). All of these milestones have elicited a variety of conflicting feelings—from inspired to terrified, from unstoppable to uncertain.
Whenever I set myself a new challenge, I vacillate between confidence/inspiration/clarity and fear/doubt/insecurity. It usually takes a little time and some tangible results before I experience a level of ease and confidence. I’ve seen this exact same pattern play out for many of the business leaders I coach, too—it usually takes six to twelve months in a new role before my clients find their way to a place of greater assuredness and, dare I say it, poise.
And guess what? It’s perfectly normal. It’s totally natural. Realness is NOT weakness. These are the feelings that Women in Real Life experience…In fact, these are the feelings that people in real life experience, women and men.
I’d like to help re-write and reframe the definition of confidence! I’d like the new and improved definition to include “a willingness to be real—to admit not knowing, to admit fear, to admit uncertainty and doubt.” MORE >