The Pain and Heartache of Leadership

Beth Wolff

Maybe this wasn’t the first time I knew I was a leader, but it was the first time that the repercussions of being a leader sunk in.

I was 18. In a moment of vulnerability, I was telling a respected family friend about how alone I felt in life. While everyone else seemed to have persons to journey along side them, friends that really understood them, I was a magnate for trainees, rookies, and hopeful apprentices. Despite starting relationships with the intention of mutual friendship, they naturally rolled into me as coach.

I was tired of it. But this lament was met with an unexpected response that has changed my perspective on leadership: “Yeah, doesn’t being a leader suck?!” It felt like there was an feeling of ‘maybe you should quit.’

There’s a reality that leadership is not always the “glory” it is made out to be. It is a lonely road less taken. There are hardships, unspeakable burdens and few to share the load.

True Leadership For Only True Leaders

For those who are leaders, I mean real leaders, trading in leadership for this well-worn path does not settle well.

I liken it to the prophet Jeremiah: He refuses to give a message to the rebellious nation of Isreal from God. He describes the feeling of refusing the call as a fire shut up in his bones. But he must speak it no matter how difficult!

Real leaders, feel the pain and heartache of leadership, knowing the alternative of walking away is so much more painful. Despite the difficult call to leadership being contrary to who they are at the core, they bare the burden.

Leaders, we must pick up and dust ourselves off, and keep on trekking knowing that the things done in this brief life of service unto God, will echo into the realms of eternity.

2 replies
  1. Dave Shrein
    Dave Shrein says:

    Beth, I really appreciated your post. Leadership is hard and the defaulting to coach that you speak of, I’ve felt it too. I’ve learned that there are life-givers and energy-suckers. My goal is not to get rid of the energy-suckers, but make sure that I’m receiving life and energy from other areas so I can love and lead those who take much more energy to be around.

    Everything was well said. Thank you.

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