Real life lessons on leadership from a millennial mom writing all of this down for her Gen Z daughter.
I truly believe my 10 year old daughter can become president of the United States if she wants to. She's got a lot of gusto despite the shyness she's developed due to (what I believe) is COVID-19 social anxiety.
I mean, aren't we all a little awkward around other humans these days? Hug, no hug? Elbows, fists or arm taps? It's weird.
Despite the unusual climate for her coming of age, a young woman is forming. Mae is a beautiful girl finding her place in the world, a place that looks very different from mine. You wouldn't think there would be stark differences between me, one of the oldest millennials, and Mae, one of the youngest in Gen Z, but there are.
Yet we've got something major in common that doesn't care what generation we're from: we're both females with a leadership gift.
Leadership is in us, it's as natural as eating and breathing. We don't always try to take the lead, sometimes we actually avoid it. Leadership often feels uncomfortable and we're squeamish about doing it. But, nonetheless, it happens.
We eventually, somehow, wind up leading.
Both of us fight, deny, and even try to downplay our leadership gift. When we don't steward it well, we become controlling. We don't necessarily like being leaders because we didn't ask for the role. Yet just like my freckles and her curly hair, God didn't ask us for permission when He put the gift inside of us. It's just there.
To that end, I'm on a quest to accept it.
A few years ago, I began telling this to Mae before she left home to board the school bus: "Lead well."
Reports from her early elementary school teachers verified my hunch: she was a leader. I also knew that could be both good and bad. She didn't have to be the loudest or funniest in the class, her presence alone brought influence.
The other day, I didn't have my proudest leadership moment. During a flash of frustration I said, "Listen to me! I've got 27 more years on this planet than you." It was a clash amongst leaders for sure—I wanted my way and Mae wanted hers. Yet as we got through the tension of the moment, I realized three things:
- I don't know everything and I can learn a lot if I'd look through her lens.
- She also doesn't know everything and could learn a lot if she'd look through my lens.
- Good thing I pray because Lord knows I need help.
Writing down the lessons
After the moment passed, I had another thought. "I should write this stuff down while it's fresh—leadership lessons I want to pass on to Mae." I had learned a lot in the 27 years before she arrived, and even more in the 10 years I've parented her. Wisdom tells me there's even more to come. I want to capture it all.
Good thing I'm a blogger.
If you've read my book, you know I process life by writing. It's also how I hope to leave a legacy. Blogging is how I invite others into the journey with me. So, welcome to a new little corner of the blog I'm calling "Lead Well." I hope to share real life lessons I've learned when it comes to being:
- a female leader
- a young leader
- a naive leader
- a leader in denial that I'm a leader
- an aspiring leader
If you can relate to Mae and I, and you fall into being one of these, I hope you'll follow along and comment. Life's more fun when we're sharing. Plus, Lord knows we need each other. I'll take all the help I can get.