“They can’t do it without me.” “If I’m not in there to keep an eye on things it probably won’t go well.”
These are statements we said to ourselves at various times in our leadership lives. We believed in taking ownership of our responsibilities. But, sometimes, because we were “in charge,” we had an overblown opinion of our importance to the success of our organization which, among other things, generated ridiculous amounts of unnecessary stress.
We all want to know that we are valuable, that our contributions matter, and that we are making a significant difference with our lives. Everyone has something important to bring to the table and that needs to be celebrated and affirmed. Yet at the same time, if we are honest, the world could actually get along just fine we were suddenly gone.
This is hard for leaders and parents to hear. After a sufficient amount of grieving, people will figure out how to cover our bases and life will go on without us. Of course, we’ll be missed for awhile, but over time our influence, our input, and to a large degree our impact will fade from memory.
This is the human journey.
“We are all needed and we are all dispensable.”
Onalee Hunter Hughes
Living with the paradox of feeling needed and dispensable helps us keep a sober assessment of ourselves. We realize that somehow the world managed before we were born and though we may be making our mark on it now, humility also sees our footprints on the beach with the tide coming in.
Wisdom is keeping our lives somewhere in the middle of this important paradox all the while feeling grateful for whatever parts we are called on to play.
These days, we are learning to lead and relate with this freedom: our contribution really does matter AND everything is not up to us.
The same is true for YOU. Your contribution really does matter AND everything is not up to YOU.