September 20, 2021
Before I share more about that day, let me offer a few bits of information about myself.
I’m an Enneagram 3.5, LOL. Yes, I know this isn’t a real number, but for the life of me, I can’t decipher whether I’m a 3w4 or 4w3. (P.S. If you have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m referring to, you can learn more about the personality framework and discover your type here: https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test).
In a nutshell, I know myself to be naturally competitive, creative, achievement-oriented, driven, and sensitive.
Taken together, each of these traits has positioned me to lead. Beginning in elementary school, I spearheaded a campaign to raise money for the homeless. By the time I reached high school, I’d involved myself in over 7 sports activities, along with Band, cheer, and National Honor Society. My years at Baylor University, followed by time at two other higher learning institutions, yielded similar results.
To this day, I continue to serve in leadership roles. Leading is just how I’m wired, and I take the task seriously.
The problem, however, is what I’ve associated with leadership over the years.
See I equated leadership with perfection (like there is even such a thing!), emotional reservation, and calculated strategy towards success. This perfect trifecta would certainly point me towards higher heights in every area of my life, right?
Standing in front of that class in the Spring 2013 cracked me open to the reality that leadership wasn’t at all what I thought it was.
As I stood before my students, I felt emotionally and physically broken. My mom, who’d always served as a guide, spiritual warrior, and confidante, would no longer answer my phone calls in the middle of the night. She wouldn’t be there to talk through my fears or encourage my heart when it was worn. While my feet stood firmly planted on the ground, my mind drifted elsewhere.
On that day, as well as many days beyond that, I struggled to lead in ways I deemed leadership worthy. For instance, I found it nearly impossible to teach about death and dying within a health context. Any semblance of perfection I thought I had prior to my mom’s death quickly disappeared, leaving behind work that was just ‘good enough.’ And mentally, concentration failed me, replaced by grief-induced brain fog and challenges completing tasks I’d easily mastered in times past.
Grief had officially offered a TKO, and all I could do in that season was lay there and take the beating.
Interestingly, I learned that much can be discovered after being on the receiving end of grief’s one-two punch. (Let me clarify here that I don’t believe death solely exists to teach us lessons. However, on the heels of loss, there are many discoveries to be made).
These days, as I train members of organizations, work with individual clients, and deliver presentations, I often lead with my story. I accept the personality foibles that come along with grief. Of course, I work hard and do my absolute best to cross all my Ts and dot my Is in life. At the same time, however, I rest often and take breaks throughout the day to pray, meditate, and simply check in with myself.
In case you haven’t figured out what that is, it’s YOU. Yes, you, my friend.
👉🏾 Here’s the charge today, from my heart to yours — especially if you’re that strange Enneagram 3.5, LOL or simply want to curb your natural hunger to lead in a way that doesn’t honor your grief.
I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts below. ⬇️
As always, I’m glad you’re here!
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