Pastors and activists alike know what it means to be the wounded warrior. Too many folks are beholden to paychecks and the status quo to truly embody the messages they proclaim, but for those who wake up in the middle of the night working and dreaming and plotting and hoping, there is no separation from what you do and who you are because the calling is higher than a job description or salary package.
Between navigating institutional structures that seek to either impede or extinguish progress and innovation, and trying to find grace and meaning amidst the tribulations of life, public leadership can be a difficult office to hold and maintain if you are not aware of the territory into which you are stepping.
If you seek to balance the ideals for your life with the realities of the human condition, here are 3 things to remember that will keep you grounded as a leader and help you to overcome difficult situations.
- It’s not about you, it’s about the mission.
When stepping into public leadership, it’s more than budget demands, conference calls and planning the ideal travel itinerary—as important as these things may be. Leadership in a broken, expectant world demands more from us than our egos and our qualifications.
Sometimes, what’s right may not be appropriate for right now, and we are demanded to swallow our pride and count the costs associated with our position.
- You will always meet critics.
Queen Elizabeth II, who will be the longest reigning British monarch, was criticized for taking time to care for her grandchildren after their mother—Princess Diana, was killed.
Jesus, was beaten and killed for daring to believe in a God beyond a box of rituals and sacrifices.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed, threatened, and eventually assassinated for challenging institutional racism and segregation.
We too will face critics and criticism; and we maintain our integrity and keep moving forward.
- Skills are always transferable.
It is common for highly skilled and highly qualified public professionals to become program managers and volunteer coordinators, instead of ministers who lead people out of bondage and activists who mobilize communities toward change. The reality is that differences can be made wherever we go. The same passionate skills that organized a parade contingent can also supervise an event planning company.
We must always work toward a higher standard of being in every position we find ourselves inhabiting. As long as what you do and who you are evolving toward meets the deepest need within you to become the fullest expression of yourself, you will find peace in whatever you do. All leaders will undoubtedly meet challenges and naysayers; and all leaders will always find people who appreciate them and know the value of what they have to offer.
When you remain clear about the mission for your life and for your calling as a leader, you will also know that the spirit in you is greater than anything that could ever come against you…and that alone, is what makes you successful.
You are more than the title, more than the critics, and more than your credentials. You are a leader.