Off with the Leadership Mask

kitchen office space

I spend a great deal of time thinking about leadership. Specifically how it ping-pongs from rewarding and inspiring, to terrible and deflating, often within the same hour.

For me, the past year has illuminated the wonderful and awful importance of being an authentic leader. The kind of leader that takes their mask off to be a whole, vulnerable person.

There’s an unspoken lie floating around that leaders need to have it all figured out. That we need to keep it together so everyone else can keep it together. Sure, we need to bring steadiness to the storm. But sometimes you gotta read the room. 

Rewind to late-May 2020…

We were months into what we thought would be a two-month pandemic, my organization had just gone through a staff reduction and our country was literally ablaze as we tackled racial injustice with a fervor our generation hadn’t before seen.

On top of this, my dad had been alone in the hospital for weeks, my aunt just passed away from an aggressive cancer, my friends and family … Read the rest

Thing #14 – Skatership

When we first threw out the idea of ice skating, it seemed like a fun, albeit terrifying, idea. The last time Gina was on skates was in 4th grade, and up until last year, it had been nearly that long for me.

We knew we’d be bad at it, which was precisely the point. For two people driven to excel in work and life, we welcomed the idea of putting ourselves in a situation where we’d be laughably bad at something. We embraced it, chalking it up to leadership development. What better way to learn the critical leadership trait of “humility” than face-planting in public?

Nothing about ice skating feels natural to me. Strapped into sweaty, ill-fitting shoes, balanced on a metal sliver and appearing graceful – nope. Within ten seconds of stepping onto the ice, confidence drained from my body and I considered how easy it would be to return the skates and go home.

It’s slippery and wobbly, children are zooming past you, 40-something dads are showing off their high-school hockey tricks. But … Read the rest