Sometimes a leader is afraid to be vulnerable. Afraid to show any sign of stress. Always aware of keeping a straight poker face, regardless of what is going on. In the past month, I’ve been a mess. It’s the truth – just ask my husband. I’ve cranked up my level of dissertation writing and revising, and the number of hours I’m putting in each week between my responsibilities as a school principal, working on my dissertation, and managing (I use this word loosely) home responsibilities is truly mind-boggling. Needless to say, my body just stopped allowing me to sleep. I mean, who needs sleep, really? We always say that there aren’t enough hours in the day, right? On the third week (THE THIRD WEEK!) of less than three hours a night of sleep, I began to panic.
The truth is that I was scared to death of the crash that I knew was coming. I spent the next couple of weeks asking medical advice from our school nurse and mental health advice of our school counselor. I tried taking herbal supplements to help me sleep. I could feel the crash coming, but I fought hard against it. Admitting weakness to people is not easy for me to do.
Well, guess what? I crashed (no surprise here). It was messy. And here’s the remarkable part. IT WAS OK. What I discovered when I finally hit rock bottom was that there was an entire safety net of people that lifted me back up to my feet. My small group from church prayed for me to get some sleep. (And I have slept every night since then.) My family and friends continued checking in on me each day. And then what happened yesterday blew me completely away. My Skaith Elementary family pitched in on getting me gift cards for some much-needed pampering, and gave me cards with notes from each of them of encouragement to keep on going. I was blown away. My eyes still tear up just thinking about their display of caring.
So, here’s my lesson learned. It’s okay to be vulnerable and fall when you can no longer stand. For me, falling showed me just how many people give me the strength to stand on a daily basis. I will forever be indebted to my family and friends for helping me through these last several weeks. Because of you, I have the strength to continue on and cross the finish line. Believe me, I’m counting down the days to the completion of my doctoral degree with my dissertation defense on April 13th. And I will celebrate with each and every one of you, because I know that it was not a journey that I made alone.
Thank you for lifting me back up when I fell. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable. And most of all, thank you for showing me just how much you cared when I needed you the most. My heart is full. I am blessed. You are wonderful. Thank you.