I firmly believe in this statement - do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. At Hope for Justice, we are passionate and we are pioneering. To pioneer is something we love to do. We are one of the few, if not the only organisation that does what we do. It’s a pioneer model. Which means we have also experienced our fair share of controversy.
All the way along, we have received criticism (as well as a load of encouragement, I hasten to add!). When you step out. When you don’t go the way everyone else goes. When you look to leave a trail where there has been no path, I will tell you now….the trail is not always easy.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned as a pioneer. You could say, these are the things I wish I had known [which incidentally, that is the vision for this blog, for the website, for all that I do really, in that I want to pass on what I have learned on my journey and the things I wish I had known before I started].
Lack of Confidence
I never expected the extent to which I would have issues with my confidence as a leader.
As a young man growing up, I was really confident. When I was in a room full of people, I was always the loudest (hard to imagine, right?). At an early age I was given responsibilities and invited to join leadership teams. I was super confident….until the point where I was fully responsible.
The greatest shock for me is that when you are in the board room, and it is your decision, you have to make that call. I never thought I lacked confidence until I was asked to make some of the decisions I have had to make as CEO of Hope for Justice. But the responsibility you are given is a big deal - and sometimes I wear that well and sometimes it erodes my confidence….but only if I let it.
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Don’t through away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded.”
The thing I have learned (and this has surprised me) is that confidence can be given away, and I have had to learn the ability to lead a staff, some of who are way beyond me in years, some of who are way beyond me in experience managing thousands of staff and having international careers.
In those moments, I could amplify one of two thoughts: I am not worthy or I am exactly in the right place…I shouldn’t be doing this or I am exactly the right person for the job at this moment.
I never expected to have self doubt. I never thought I would have issues of confidence, but when you step out and you start pioneering you will be surprised at how easily your thinking can become unnerved. The negative thoughts - the doubts - many of which you may never have thought you would have. Before they may have seemed unbelievable but suddenly they start becoming believable.
So I had to take action.
I had to harness my thoughts.
I had to take captive my thinking.
I had to tell myself not to believe everything I thought…because it isn’t always fact.
As a leader, when you step out, if you can learn that not every negative thing you think is true - it will begin to affect whether or not you give away you confidence.
And I would implore you as a leader, do give your confidence away. Start believing the positive things. You are in the right place at the right time. There is a great future for you, a great plan for your life.
Those around you may have more experience than you, but that is a good thing. That is something to be harnessed and celebrated. They are there to help you.
Don’t be paranoid that the people around you are set out to destroy you, start believing good things.