As leaders, it is hard for us to lose those we’ve been investing in. In addition, the results of what we’ve poured into don’t look like we’ve dreamed. Even when the harvest is amazing, there is still often grief in the harvest–not because of what we didn’t do, but because our leadership wasn’t recieved.
As I prepare for the fall season of groups that I am offering, I find myself reminded of a truth I don’t like: The people I serve often don’t want what I am willing and able to give them.
Grieving As Leaders – Journal Prompts
Prompted by the journaling questions in Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, Growing Slow, I realized I am among a multitude of other women who’ve put themselves out there. They might be good for you to process too:
- What dreams have died for you?
- How have the harvest times in your life looked different than you expected?
Here were some more questions to work through:
- Have you taken the time to grieve and accept what didn’t go the way you’d hoped?
- How can you do that well, making it into a healthy habit?
Authentic Leadership vs. Marketers
In marketing, we are taught to talk about the successes. I’ve been pulling together “testimonies” for Life Mapping and the Mentorship Circle. I can highlight only the good. However, this feels unauthentic; I value being an authentic leader. If I am honest, for as many successes as I’ve had, there have been failures. Heck, sometimes it seems like there might be even more black gaping holes in my harvest fields than reproducing fruit! I wanted to share this side of the story with you–because I want you to know you are among many leaders who must acknowledge grief in the harvest.
In marketing we talk about success, but in community, we talk about the failures too. We share how we are growing and still becoming despite them. Then we keep trying because what we have to offer if still worth it. And if we want to be leaders who are move fully alive, we must acknowledge that in the joy of harvest, there is also grief. We rally around eachother in the beauty and challenge of the harvest.
If you’ve ever found yourself trying to make a difference, discouraged in the harvest, I see you.
You’re not alone, world changer. Keep trying.
Poem: Grief In the Harvest
I can only give to those who want to receive.
This is a hard truth.
I’ve opened my home up,
And people didn’t come.
Giving access to every part of my life.
Then was walked away from in judgement,
Or for other priorities.
Most of the coaching I’ve done,
My clients never made the time to get to the end.
I’ve offered to do consulting,
Teach what I know or lead things–
But the demand or desire wasn’t there.
I’ve invested in organizations, ministries, and people.
Some quickly forgot me
Or ignored any of the wisdom they begged me to share.
There have been those who’ve betrayed me.
Others wrote me out of their narrative entirely.
This breaks me.
I’m always still surprised when it happens again.
There are times I bear responsibility.
In fact, in each scenario I’ve tried to learn,
Separating the truth from the perception.
My instinct, though, has been to take all the blame.
To assume it was my fault,
Something I did,
There have been many more wins than losses–
Greater harvests than I could have ever dreamed!
But when I look out on those fields,
Sometimes I am filled with sorrow for the growth that never happened,
The gaps between the wins,
The figurative miscarriages
And the shriveled
I’m learning that I can only give to those who want to receive.
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