There are not many days when leading is especially difficult for me. As CEO of SEO Hacker for 12 years now, I have faced a multitude of days when problems are handed up to me and they are tough. I’m used to it – but there are still days when my spirit is not as strong and the will to fight and rise up is weak.
Author’s Note: This entry is written during the Holy Week break since I schedule my publishing every Wednesday 9:30am PHT.
Perhaps this is one of those weeks that have pierced me to the wall and I don’t feel like doing any leading.
In spite of this, I have to lead by example. I still go to the office everyday to show my people that I am heralding the change we need to strengthen our culture and the bond between team members.
There are those days when I want to hang my leadership coat on the wall and tell everyone I’m retiring for a few days – but that never happens because I know that I’m playing the ‘We’ game instead of the ‘Me’ game.
These are the times when leadership becomes extremely tough for me. When all of the things that I’m reading and hearing in my growth to becoming a better leader seems so… ethereal.
And yet I know that it’s exactly those lessons that I need to keep fanning in my heart for the embers to become flame again.
The pandemic has brought in problems and opportunities but it weakened the bond between team members altogether because we in SEO Hacker’s Execom decided that we will value everyone’s health and lives above the needs of the company and its culture (which we have been so intentional about in building).
I knew that this decision would come back and bite us when it came time to re-strengthening our culture by encouraging our team to work again as one in the office. That is happening now. But I did not realize the deepest implications of this.
We have lost some of our good team members for outlandish reasons that no fortune teller can ever predict. I couldn’t have done a better prediction myself. And since the reasons are so absurd, I have been completely blindsided about this possibility.
The work is many and it is just coming as more and more clients come in. Which is amazing because the company is growing at a pace that is literally awe inspiring and should encourage everyone in the company that we are going places.
This is exactly why I’m mind-blown by why team members would leave. Don’t get me wrong, the team is still unequivocally solid – and will always be as long as the Execom and our key people holds the pillars and are serving the company.
But as I always tell my people ‘it always hurts when family leaves’. I guess it really gets to me when people decide to move on – especially when they move on in such a way that there’s little to no honor left in their work output and in the way they are transitioning out.
I woke up today at the start of the Holy Week break with a camping trip planned out. I could say that I very much look forward to this since I’ve been working like a warhorse for what it feels like months on end. Yesterday was perhaps the peak of this feeling of discouragement for me – perhaps because my body itself is tired and there are multiple problems to be solved and even more work to be done on my plate.
I read through a reminder today about life and difficulties and this encouraged me:
“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it has been accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.” – M. Scott Peck
“It’s true that life is hard for everyone. And if life is tough for individuals, its difficulty is multiplied for leaders. Individuals can think ‘Me’, but leaders must think ‘We’. A leader’s life is not his or her own. Thinking ‘We’ means other people are included and that means their problems are also ours to deal with.” – John Maxwell
Being reminded of this has encouraged me in a perplexing way. Because it’s the truth of where I stand as the CEO of my organization. However it still does stand that there are those days I am tempted to think ‘Me’ instead of ‘We’. But by God’s grace those days are limited in number and far and few in between.
“Most leaders are either entering a crisis, in the middle of a crisis, or just resolving one.” – John Maxwell
This is my life and I resonate so strongly with this quote. But I also know that problems have its own benefits and that is it makes us better and shapes our character to be stronger.
Perhaps I just need to take this break to think outside of myself and outside of my own emotions and see the changes I need to implement once more to encourage the entire team (and myself). To see through the fog that we are in right now and realize that we are, in fact, headed to a better future together.