We watch leaders crash & burn all the time.
We watch with morbid fascination as leaders fall out of grace because their unaddressed pain led them on an unsustainable path of poor choices–even dangerous and deadly choices–to avoid feeling the vulnerability of rejection.
Those times when you experienced the pain of rejection leave their mark because rejection hurts. Like, physically hurts. Neuroscience teaches that this kind of emotional pain is processed similarly to physical pain.
The burdens of social rejection of any kind can become all-consuming in an effort to do whatever it takes to never go through that kind of pain again.
But stepping into leadership means stepping into rejection and being misunderstood. It is just a part of the physics of leading and putting yourself out there in any capacity.
If you are stepping into the title, the power, and the access of leadership as a way to bypass the pain of rejection, it will not go well.
My guest today is an...
Our capacities are at an all-time low.
Between the pandemic and politics and injustice–not to mention our already overflowing lives and schedules–we have access to far fewer resources for staying calm, beating back anxiety, or holding space for others.
It’s in times like these that leaders like you need to know what trips you up--so you can take better care of yourself and continue to lead those who depend on you.
Knowing what trips you up requires a lot of curiosity and deep respect for feeling out of sorts, but so often, the message to keep cool and never let others see you struggle shuts down any curiosity about what is at the root of inner struggle.
Staying calm and showing up with care is exhausting--especially when the world is on fire. You don’t want to stop… but it’s tough!
Now, I know everyone is used to hearing about “triggers,” but I like to use a different term-- trailhead.
Trailheads, according to the founder...
Avoiding controversy for the sake of comfort is not an option for you as you lead, do life, and rumble with all the big and little decisions before you.
Sure, you do not want to contribute to the noise.
You are not looking for a fight (or, like me, you try not to get scrappy just to offload some stress), or to be right just for the sake of being right.
No. You value the big picture. You value the mission. You value the greater impact.
These days, people try to shock us just so they can manipulate our feelings. They use hyperbole to exercise power over us. The polarization we are living with internally and in our culture leads to many having serious controversy fatigue.
Unburdened leaders get the nuance of standing up. They also understand the sacrifices. They would rather step up for what is true than play it safe.
We all need to do a better job of respecting this kind of leadership by supporting those who are willing to and able to take the heat...
We push ourselves until we crash.
We people please until we lose ourselves.
We hide our truth until we’re crushed from loneliness and disconnection.
Instead of dealing with the stress of our present, the anxiety of our future, or the trauma of our past, we numb out.
We drink the wine or take the pills or binge on the ice cream—and, oftentimes, we cross the threshold from numbing out to addiction.
Not surprisingly, alcohol is one of the first things many reach for to numb the ache. It’s socially acceptable and it’s easily accessible. It takes the edge off. It makes us feel a little less. It helps us find more calm and clarity.
Similarly, some people shop to soothe their pain. Some eat. Some exercise until they drop to the ground. The things that start off as comfort often lead to addiction.
And it works—until it doesn’t.
Leaders are especially good at hiding from love and the vulnerability it brings in ways that look deceptively bold. This can be a dangerous contagion, I’ve found, encouraging others to also hide behind the protectors of Hubris. Individualism. Perfectionism. Hustle.
I’ve seen how spending so much time hiding behind who you think you should be makes you forget who you are, what you value, and what you believe.
And, honestly, it can crush your spirit.
That’s why being able to receive love is foundational to being able to love and lead others well. This means moving through discomfort by feeling through it instead of letting the protectors – fueled by fear – hide your humanity.
My guest today is a force of love—towards herself and others—in both words and actions.
Leadership is hard and it is not for the weary.
Scratch that. It is for the weary and for those who commit to keep showing up, and fighting for a different world so power and status quo does not have the last say.
Leading myself and others in the face of injustice while also staying aligned to my integrity and values has required an immense amount of courage, clarity, confidence—and a lot of deep breaths.
In times of conflict, my ability to stay aligned with my integrity and core values has often been a reflection of the inner work I have done to tolerate criticism, backlash, conflict, being misunderstood, and losing support/business/followers.
Words like ‘integrity’ and ‘values’ can become nebulous and lose meaning when not backed up by consistent—though imperfect—action.
Leading, living, and being human continues to be an ongoing and imperfect process. My desire to seek accountability and justice in the world has required me to swim in the...
My body was telling me to take a step back and reevaluate.
Five years ago I had pneumonia and I couldn’t really do anything other than prop myself up on the couch and breathe...
...breathe and think about how I ended up in this mess.
I’d run myself into the ground. My schedule was full-to-overflowing. My life was packed and stretched to the edges. I had no margin for error, no space to breathe, no time to connect to who and what mattered to me.
What was I really chasing? Why had I packed my life so full? What was really driving me to try to be all the things to all the people?
The trauma of betrayal, abuse, shame, and the constant search to prove myself worthy–it was humbling and frustrating to see these recurring struggles and how they were hijacking my drive.
I needed to do more work to lift those burdens, so I could move forward in a way where my drive was aligned to what matters most to me instead of taking me further away.
In the last episode, Jonathan...
Leaders often struggle to make time for healing until their body sends out an SOS.
They postpone and avoid the need for deeper healing and then get slammed by illness, exhaustion, or burnout.
And at the heart it? There is usually the burden of unaddressed trauma.
Insomnia, chronic pain, hair and skin issues, digestive distress, mood swings, and illness after illness–if you’re experiencing these symptoms without relief, you might be one of these leaders. The cost of avoiding or bypassing the deep work and healing ends up costing you time, opportunity, and your physical and emotional well-being.
We need more leaders to show up and model what it means to prioritize healing by doing the deeper work to change.
That's why I'm excited to share today’s conversation with Jonathan Merrit.
Jonathan knows a thing or two about the deep work of healing because he has lived this truth in action.
He is a model of tenacity and commitment toward the long-game work...