4 Unexpected Sources of Strength Available to Tired Leaders
Opportunities are squandered on the weak. Fatigue magnifies problems.
Energy without strength is a fly in a hurricane.
Weakness and fatigue make solutions irrelevant and achievement impossible.
Strength shrinks obstacles. Fatigue makes every step agony.
4 unexpected sources of strength
#1. Struggle strengthens.
“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” Oprah Winfrey
Struggle and adversity aren’t the problem. Avoidance is.
Avoidance prolongs weakness and promotes fatigue.
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney
- What difficult task are you neglecting?
- What difficult conversation are you avoiding?
- How have trivialities replaced meaningful work?
Do hard things. Ease is the enemy of strength.
The less you do, the weaker you get.
#2. Vulnerability strengthens.
“Fake it till you make it,” might be useful, but playacting drains you.
“I feel stronger for confession.” Mahatma Gandhi
- Acknowledge mistakes. “I was wrong,” builds energy and strength when you correct mistakes.
- Recognize weaknesses. You have more weaknesses than strengths.
- Honor strength in others.
#3. Enjoyment strengthens.
In Chariots of Fire, Colin Welland put the following words in Eric Liddell’s mouth, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Pleasure energizes. LF
- What are you enjoying about work? About leadership?
- How might you express pleasure today?
- How might you let others experience your pleasure with them?
Express pleasure by talking to people as if they were children.
#4. Connection strengthens.
“My inner strength comes from my friends. I have a very close group of friends and family, and we all help each other through our dark times.” Kathy Bates
Build relationships with people who make you feel strong.
Be a person who strengthens others.
The principle of the isolated stick says, “Pull a stick out of the fire and it goes out.”
What makes leaders weak?
Where does strength come from?
What makes leaders weak? Not making decision. Being indecisive.
Where does strength come from? Being crystal clear on your beliefs, values, goals, and priorities. And having the courage to act on them.
Thanks Paul. I’m glad you added courage. It was on my mind while writing this post. I wondered while writing this one if courage comes before or after strength. I think taking action comes before strength. I lean toward the idea that courage follows action as well, but haven’t thought about it enough to be decisive.
Courage is strength. Does taking a difficult action produce strength? Yes! It increases our strength and courage. So the next time we need courage/strength we have it and can act on it.
In some cases courage (increased strength) follows action. In other cases courage (being strong) precedes action.
Thanks for circling back Paul. The symbiotic relationship between courage, action, and strength seems most relevant to me.
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” – Napoléon Bonaparte. In other words, courage is the mindset that lets you use the strength you didn’t realize you still had left in you. And the four things listed in today’s post help you get into that mindset of going on despite your initial misgivings.
Thanks for joining in Jennifer. Here’s my takeaway. We find strength as we move forward, not before we move forward.
In August 2019, I started going to the CrossFit gym. (For context, I am in okay shape for a woman in her early 50s with two college-aged kids but am not an athlete by any stretch of the definition.) A few months after starting, the workout for the day had a lot of burpees. I only had to do half the number, and still took longer than the rest of the class. Who came and did extra burpees to keep me going for the last 10 or so. #1: Struggle = The bar was set where I could reach it, if I tried. #2: Vulnerability = I knew it was going to be a tough workout that day, and I still showed up. #3: Enjoyment = Okay, I don’t enjoy burpees but I did enjoy the feeling of finishing that last one because it was more than I had ever done before. #4: Connection = Despite being exhausted and gasping for breath, the last 10 burpees were the easiest, not because of the company but because the others clearly thought I could do them.
I believe that there are no coincidences. About 14 hours ago I was having this discussion with one of my friends who was (is) avoiding difficult discussions with his peers at his workplace.
In my observation he had been and continues to tolerate bad/unprofessional behaviour of his peers and instead of having a ‘crucial conversation’ with them resorts to escalating the matters which as I see prove his weakness in building relationships and gives undue strength to others to manipulate and frustrate him.
It’s a BLESSING to have this blog Dan. I just shared this with him. Hope it helps.
Thank you very much!
I would like to take the 4 unexpected sources of strength available to tired leaders mentioned in the blog and break them down into my life with completing my master’s degree with Tulane. I am at the very end of completing my degree and this allows me to reflect on finishing up the degree.
1- Struggle strengthens- At times during the completion of the degree there have been struggles. There have been times that I wonder how I will accomplish a certain task and the struggle starts. After completing the task, I can look back and see how that struggled strengthened myself.
2. Vulnerability strengthens- This point made me think of completing presentations in class. It is a time of vulnerability with presenting and I have seen myself become more confident in conducting presentations in my career.
3. Enjoyment strengthens- I have seen my knowledge in my career field strengths with completing my degree. This has allowed me to find pleasure in completing the degree.
4. Connection strengthens- Doing a distance learning classes with group projects have had their difficultly. The projects that have been more successful, the group is well connected.