You Don’t Have To Be A Leader All The Time
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 15, 2017
“You can’t just hide and act like nothing’s going on.”
“Sure I can.”
“Don’t you care about what’s happening?”
“Not really, because there’s nothing I can do. I have no power; minorities have no power. I did my part; now I’m done.”
“I’m not giving up. I’m going to fight for the next 4 years.”
“You do that. I’ll be over here looking for peace, defending health care when I can and writing about leadership and diversity. I don’t have to be a leader all the time.”
This is a recent conversation I had with a friend of mine. I’ve had a few of these types of conversations since late December, when people were finally ready to try to talk to me about what happened last November after I almost quit social media.
I’m a guy who writes about leadership. I’m a guy who writes about diversity. I’m a guy who writes about communications. I’m a guy who writes about health care. I’m a guy who writes about motivation.
Almost all the time when I’m writing about these things, I’m relating them to how they should be applied in a business sense. When I wrote about things leaders do that managers don’t do, that was specifically in a business sense. When I wrote my latest piece on different types of motivation, it was geared towards business and employees.
Occasionally I’ll go off business for a while like I did when I talked about moving my mother into my house because leadership topics aren’t always confined to business. The same goes for motivation and diversity topics. Nothing’s all black or white; not even life and death.
When I was working at hospitals, I was in a leadership position. As a consultant, sometimes I’m in a leadership position. In those times I’m paid to be a leader, and I like to think I do it pretty well.
When I was younger I was often the leader on a sports team, and I’ve lead a lot of other things in my past. But most of the time, outside of work and my own business, the only time I’m potentially a leader is when I apply it to myself. I’m not always such a good leader even then.
Back last July I wrote a post saying that no one should be compelled to take a stance on controversial topics. At that time I was talking about Michael Jordon, who had finally stepped into a role as a leader when it came to race and, oddly enough, was castigated by a certain segment for not doing even more than he did. Sometimes there’s never enough you can do for some people, so one has to live their own lives and do what they feel they need to do to get by. I couldn’t say something like that about Michael Jordan and not apply it to my own life, could I?
Like most everyone else, I have other things to think about without being out there wasting my time protesting this or that, even if I agree with some of those positions. I’ve moved my mother, who has dementia, into my house, and she’s become my primary concern… even more than my business, although I’m working on changing my business model. As if that wasn’t enough, last week she had a heart attack; that was pretty scary and has raised the concern meter up a bit, though she’s fine now.
I had a book I need to finish that I haven’t even opened the file to write in during 2017; that’s not good. I have a digital product that’s on hold and a webinar series that I’m ignoring for the moment. I’ve also done little to no marketing since the middle of January; other things have gotten in the way.
You know what? I don’t want to be a leader all the time… even if sometimes I’m forced into it. I have to be the leader for my mother. I have to make sure I don’t stop taking my medication (which I keep forgetting here and there, even with my alarms). I also have to make sure I eat my meals when scheduled; even with my wife home I don’t always follow that one either.
I don’t have a yearn to be a political leader. I don’t have a yearn to be on the front steps protesting about bad behavior towards minorities and other groups. I don’t even have a yearn to fight against the potential elimination of the ACA. I know there’s not a single thing I can do to prevent anything I don’t like from happening. I was part of the 88% last year; that got me nothing except depression.
None of us have to do anything just because someone says we should unless we ask them for help. It doesn’t matter what we do or say in a different arena, we don’t have to always be “on”; comedians deal with this all the time.
You don’t have to be a leader all the time; I’m certainly not going to be. I’ll lead when and where I have to; that’s the best anyone should expect from me or you.