I am simultaneously excited about, and dreading, this month. September is always fun month – the start of fall, my birthday, back to school, etc. But this month is packed with travel. I’m in Austin this week, then at the end of next week I head to Alaska for over a week (work with a little personal trip to kick it off), and then I get back to Houston for a week before flying to D.C.
I knew well in advance that would mean I’d need some help here on the blog. So while there will be a handful of new posts from me, there will also be some wonderful guest posts (including every September Fashion Friday – can’t wait to debut this week’s!) and a few of my past favorites.
This leadership post, entitled Leading Past The Fear, ran last March and still rang true to me today when I was sifting old posts:
Today, we’ll tackle when leading, or the chance to lead, has you shaking in your boots.
When I interviewed Diane Yu from NYU for the book, I appreciated her candor. The first thing she shared with me was a that leadership IS HARD. Not for the faint of heart.
There’s this idea that leadership is all success and prestige and honor.
But leadership can mean loneliness, hard decisions, intense pressure, and tremendous responsibility.
Fortunately, she went on to say that you should still lead if given the chance. Just go in prepared for what’s ahead.
Very recently, I was given the opportunity to lead in a way and within a timeline that was completely unexpected for me. Do you know what my reaction was? Nausea. Fear. A strong desire to step back and say, “no thanks, I’m not ready for this.” My closest friends were encouraging me and cheering me on while I was ready to tuck tail and run.
The opportunity, on its face, was exciting. But there was some quantifiable risk that accompanied the opportunity. Unpredictable personalities and an unknown outcome.
Some days, you feel ready to tackle those challenges with abandon. However, given the fact that I’d had to tackle a fair number of new leadership opportunities this past year, this challenge just left me tired. Ready for a little of the familiar. The low risk way of life despite the low return.
I took the challenge anyway.
As you know if you’ve read this blog at all in the past, I am a strong believer that these opportunities come from God. Not as a result of luck or timing or karma, but because God has a plan for my life and this is part of how He would like to use me. This is not to say that you shouldn’t say no to certain opportunities. You absolutely MUST say no to certain opportunities so that you can make room for the yeses that matter. This was a yes that mattered. This was a yes that, if I took it, could show others that God can do big things. Because there’s no way, on any normal timeline or in any normal circumstances, I should have this opportunity.
So I said yes. I still felt completely nauseous. I still do. I’m still shaking. But with great (smart) risk, comes great reward.