Leadership is about justice and justice is using that leadership (influence) for the good of others. This has been my leadership methodology for years and it has been tested in the fire!
Years ago, I was grieving over being taken advantage of over and over again. I hurt because I was surrounded by takers who were self-absorbed in their own needs and never genuinely caring for me. I would trust their words of loyalty, commitment, and partnership until I was slapped in the face with sudden, heartbreaking betrayals. The end goal for their validating and honoring words was to take what they could get from me and to manipulate me for their gain. When I had served their purpose, I was dropped like a hot potato. Even though I don’t believe most of these individuals lived with any conscious malicious intent or even an initial awareness of their manipulation, this reality was still a difficult and painful pill to swallow.
Even so, I have learned so much through these experiences. Even in betrayals–though I would not wish this pain on anyone–we have choices to make for ourselves. Will we grow bitter or better? Hard and untrusting or resilient and wise?
Here are some things that I have learned through my own journey:
1. While not always valued by some others, I know that I still hold value. I know that I cannot stop bringing that value to the table. The world needs what you carry!
2. My continued contribution to others increased my competencies as I worked hard to raise my personal leadership bar. Experience is one of the greatest teachers!
3. Through the heartache and betrayal, I was able to clearly define my calling. I knew that even through pain, my purpose must be lived out. This continues to hold me steady to my course. You learn what matters most to you when you are challenged!
4. I learned some of the things NOT to do, which is important so that those things do not sabotage what I was called to do. Learn from your present for a better future!
5. I was able to discern my personal saboteurs (too many to list) which positioned me to allow someone to take advantage of me. This alone was worth the arduous journey. We are always works in progress!
6. I extracted the good from the negative and learned when and where to make investments of my life, energy, and time.
7. I have learned that I am powerless to change another human being. I cannot work harder on someone’s growth than they are willing to do for themselves. Assess your investments and see where the scales are wrongfully tipped and adjust.
8. It is not a win-win partnership if one is doing the majority of the work and the other getting the greatest benefits. This has helped me to evaluate my levels of investment moving forward.
9. Trust must be built over the long haul and it’s not what is said but what is done that confirms the trustworthy.
10. It is always good to discern when and where I should give while knowing there will never be a return, a partnership, or any personal benefit. This keeps my heart pure and promotes a generous lifestyle.
Where will we invest our emotional energies?
I am sure that you have experienced usury and have felt the sting of flattery, deception, and manipulation. You, however, also hold the personal power to respond rather than react, learn rather than attack, and establish healthy boundaries. It is not what happens to us but what happens in us that shapes the trajectory of our life.
We have a daily choice to either focus on the betrayal, hurt, and disappointment or to focus on what can mature, advance, and bring greater levels of wisdom to our leadership.
Do not give your power to the past! Instead, become the best version of yourself today!
From one leader to another,
Dr. Melodye Hilton
‘Unmasking Prejudice: Silencing the Internal Voice of Bigotry’ invites all of us to recognize and remove the hidden masks of prejudice so that we can have a hand in changing the cultural narrative and bringing healing to our land.