The truth is that some of the very best leaders are those who have a limp of some nature. I’m not talking about any type of physical limp, I’m talking about people who have a previous injury of some other nature. Ways they have been hurt in the past. This might be bad decisions they have made, people who have burned them, chances they took that did not pay off. They may have had a failure that crippled them for a season. They may have messed up. They may have made a mistake. They may have lost their way. They may have even been tempted to quit, but they pushed forward, never to be the same again.
Chances are that if you have ever tried to lead in any shape or form, you have experienced something in your past that has left a limp in your life. Things that, if you let them, can affect how you lead in the future. Just because you have a limp, it does not mean that you are damaged goods. It does not mean that you can’t be an amazing leader in the future. The past does not define your future.
With that in mind, I would like to present some ways that you can still be an effective leader despite any limp you might have.
Don’t hide it
There is most likely a younger leader around you who feels that they have lost their way. They need your guidance. They need your encouragement. They need to see by example that they can get up again and move forward. You just might be the perfect person to help them.
Don’t be a martyr
No one enjoys a complainer or someone who is always making excuses. You suffered a failure. You had a setback. You made a mistake. Don’t wallow in your misery forever. It’s not an attractive characteristic in leadership.
Allow it to strengthen you
Allow your limp to make you a better person and leader. Let your limp strengthen your leadership abilities, even if it’s learning what not to do the next time.
Let’s look at the example of lifting weights. When you are lifting weights you are breaking down muscle fibers and causing damage to the muscle fibers in your body. It is the time between lifts that your body is healing those muscle fibers and causing the muscles to grow stronger than they were before. That is when you gain strength. If you never break down the muscle fibers, they never heal, and without healing there is no strength gain.
Always remember that there are other people limping too. If not right now, they will be at some point in the future. They are trying to find their way, just like you did. Since you understand what they are going through, you should be understanding of their struggles.
Learn valuable lessons
The truth is that we learn more in the hard times than we do in the easy times. Going through hard time times is vital to our growth as a person and as a leader. We need to learn to embrace the hard times and allow them to develop us as much as possible.
We all have a past. We should always be looking forward, but still remember our past. Remember the mistakes you made and what you learned from them so you can try to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Remember that we all make mistakes so remembering that will help keep you humble. You are never as good as you think you are and you are never as bad as you think you are. The reality is that you are somewhere in the middle so remember to stay humble when you do experience good things, you will be able to keep them in perspective and remain humble.
Limp to victory
Don’t ever give up. Great leaders proudly limp across the finish line. Just because you have a limp, it does not mean that your potential is limited in any way. You can still accomplish anything you have ever wanted to so be proud of your limp and know that it has developed you into the person you are today. Keep your eyes on the finish line and limp like hell until you reach it.
Think about this. Would you want someone leading you who did not have a limp? If they don’t have a limp, it means that they have not ever messed anything up and if something ever does go wrong, they will have no idea how to deal with it. That would be pretty scary. So wear your limp with pride and know that it will make you a better leader because of it.
Are you leading with a limp? How has it shaped your leadership?