Mental Health Requirement: A place to bleed!
I learned several years ago in a session at the Midwest Leadership Institute that in order to maintain a healthy state of mind every person has to develop and have access to a safe place to bleed. I heard that sage advice and it deeply resonated with me. Do you have a safe place to bleed?
As you progress in your success journey, the safe places to bleed begin to diminish. As you climb up the ladder of success in your career field or in your social circles, you may be creating a wider network, but you inherently begin to diminish your safety zone. I also humbly submit that the trauma you endure mentally conversely increases as your safety zone decreases. Hence, the challenge is real. Do you feel it? Are you experiencing it?
A CEO of a company should not bleed to their direct reports. It is not safe, and it places your team in an awkward spot. This same CEO should not bleed in front of the their board members. Again, it is not safe and it impacts the relationships. Oh they will tell you and encourage you to use them, but please heed my words. It is not safe. Do not fall into this trap. They mean you no harm, but harm unfortunately will come.
Yes, the struggle is real. We all bleed! We all need a safe place to bleed. Do I have the ultimate answer for you as to where you should bleed. The answer is no. You have to find that for yourself. I have been on this leadership/success journey in City Management for 17 years. I know I have to bleed. The struggle for me is developing and maintaining a safe infirmary. One that you can safely trust that will not blow up in your face and produce more blood in the future.
To illustrate my point I am reminded of a funny joke that as most jokes do has a relevant truth wrapped up inside the humor: "As the Captain of the ship observed a pirate ship quickly approaching to attack his ship. he directed his First Mate to bring him his red shirt. When asked why he wanted the red shirt, he proudly proclaimed that when he was cut in glorious battle he did not want his men to see him bleed. He did not want to discourage them and they would in turn see him fighting uninjured and that will lead them to victory. After the swashbuckling on board the ship ended, the Captain victoriously looked out over the horizon and saw three more pirate vessels coming to attack his ship. The Captain then turned to his First Mate and directed him to go get his brown pants!" The Captain in this joke knew that he was going to bleed. Going to be impacted by the battle. He also knew that bleeding in front of your team can negatively impact their attitude and performance.
Let's face it. We all struggle at times. We all need to vent or to bleed. We all need to blow off some steam. I am hopeful that you already have developed and continuously maintain a safe place to bleed. Use it. Bleed. It will help you as you progress on you success journey. If you are like me and you struggle to find your safe place. Don't loose hope. Be vigilant. It is there for you. Until then, be sure you put on your red shirt in front of your team. Hopefully, you can leave the brown pants in the closet.
Here we grow!