Today I felt really sad.
I’m normally fairly positive in my interactions with people, I’m incredibly fortunate in that I love what I do and I get to spend my days working with people who are absolutely brilliant and incredibly passionate about why they do it. This kind of energy is infectious.
But ups and downs are normal, especially when you’re living through a f***ing pandemic – there’s no one that’s escaped the impact in some way. I count myself fortunate to live in Victoria Australia – the site of one of the stricter lockdowns, but it meant that for more than the past month, there have been no COVID19 infections in my state.
Something I’ve noticed in my friends, family and colleagues is the way they’ve handled themselves during this insanely difficult time and their ability to get on with it. Lost jobs, supporting others, sickness, death, increased workloads, working while also doing childcare… no one has escaped unscathed.
But we’re people, we can be incredibly resilient, but life’s challenges still impact us.
I’ve got friends who have felt like they’ve failed in some way because they’ve found this hard. They’ve found it hard to cope with the unique combination of circumstances that they’ve been dealt with. They’ve felt guilty because they perceive they’ve “got it better” than someone else. Because they’re seeing others put on a front, keep their ‘work face’ on, an Instagram account that’s full of thanks and joy, carefully curated to give the impression of a perfect and resilient life.
I’ve felt this way – I felt this way today.
Some of the moments that I’ve found to be most impactful over the past year have been when I’ve seen leaders, I respect share the struggles they’ve had. It’s not been easy! And letting people know you have bad days (or weeks, or months) is important. It shatters the illusion that some people have magically got it all together.
You don’t need to be afraid upsetting someone by sharing where you’re at. Real leadership is supporting others where they are. Acknowledging privilege is important – but no one has a monopoly on suffering and pain, uncertainty and anxiety and grief.
So you know what? Today was tough. I cried and then later I put on a face when I was at work (AKA on Zoom).
But that’s ok, it’s normal to find these times tough. Make sure you reach out for help if you need – I’m here, as are many that love you. If you need help, no matter which country you live in, you can find resources here.
You are loved. You are enough. And I promise it’s ok, no one around you really has their shit together either.