The lie that young people have been sold, that to be a great leader or good human being one must be perfect, is crippling. For young people, especially the ones with the ambition to lead, we all need to rewrite the narrative and tell the correct story – that it is actually through imperfection and vulnerability that authentic and connected leaders will arise.
The portrayal of perfection is false and misleading, and if shown, leads me to the question: What is happening that no one knows about? Not one leader can claim to not have had struggles or to have overcome each one perfectly. Not one leader can say that they haven’t made mistakes or acted in ways that they wish they could redo. Not one leader can say they have never experienced heartbreak, lost or failed at something they truly desired or been in a situation that was unfair and unjust. I believe that there is strength in weakness and having the courage to own it vulnerably. That doesn’t mean that mistakes, pain or shortcomings is something we should aspire to, however when it does occur, being willing to sit in that space and acknowledge it should be. The next question however is, what have we learnt and how is that going to impact our actions, thoughts and behaviours in the future?
If I reflect on the people that I admire, they are the ones who have lived messy lives and made mistakes along the way all whilst still trying to make a difference or work towards their goal. The reason why I admire and have connected so strongly with them is because in them being open and vulnerable they have made me feel like I’m not alone and that there is hope for the future.
It is my belief that an essential part of being a leader is instilling hope that there is something better and we can work towards that together. We need leaders of hope. We need leaders of authenticity. We need leaders of courage willing to share their story wholeheartedly.