“You know you just let him walk all over you”…….stinging words we’ve all likely heard at one time or another. Pride makes us recoil at the thought. It is, for a man, emasculating to think someone walked all over us. Real men don’t get walked on…..right?
There is so much to consider when reflecting on our social behaviors, especially in the workplace. As men we strive to be tough, macho, masculine, and manly. We want to be undefeatable. We want to be powerful leaders. Getting stepped on, walked on, is the antithesis of our desired persona. But consider that all great leaders have heart and soul and are not afraid to let those qualities shine through them. Leading is not all machismo and manly stoicism. A leader that can’t shed a tear is a leader I dare not trust to follow. The talent of a real leader is knowing when to bristle and when to weep.
There are times we can’t help our fears; can’t hide them. We all face the demons of self-doubt, lack of faith in ourselves, a weakening in our self-confidence. Am I ________ enough? Fill in the blank: smart enough? Brave enough? Strong enough? Resourceful enough? We all wonder at one time or another. And it can be totally debilitating. When we begin to doubt ourselves, the ability to move, to act, becomes increasingly difficult. We begin to analyze every thought, every idea. And that leads to paralysis by analysis. There has to be a fundamental trust in ourselves and that ember has to re-stoke the fires of action within us. Action is always better than reaction. The result may not always be the right one, but you cannot succeed if you do not try.
The balance between fear of failure and the dreams of success is precarious. Whatever the goal, outwardly we drive towards it with confidence while inwardly question every word and we spend our ride home from work berating ourselves for doing this and not doing that. The maintenance of that balance point is never ending. Go too far in either direction and you will fall; of that there is no doubt. Arrogance and hubris will topple a leader just as quickly as incessant whining and the inability to make a decision.
But back to being walked on. It can be humiliating, embarrassing, and deflating to have another walk on you. Right? “Only a loser let’s that happen” we think. Right? But consider this. It can be a calculated and benevolent decision to let someone to step on you; to allow them to walk on you. What else good are we if not to help uplift and further our fellow man? If you are in a position of power, and you can help someone achieve a goal, gain a foothold, reach a new plateau – why wouldn’t you? Because of the fear that you may look weak to others?
Consider the statement again, but from a literal perspective: to let someone walk on you. Think about it. To provide them a path. To enable them to move forward on their journey. To provide the bridge between where they are and where they need to go. Is that being weak? Is that being less than a man? I say no, and I say so emphatically. What a noble and altruistic act!! To lay down and provide a bridge for the growth and betterment of another is purely an act of great leadership. No need to announce it to the world; revel in an act of selfless betterment of another. Of course, having someone do that to you without your permission and acknowledgment is something you will want to swiftly and decisively remedy. But to allow someone to find a purchase, a foothold, on your conviction and faith in them; to allow them to use you to elevate themselves? That is a magnanimous act my friend.
But whichever path you choose to follow, lead with love and with humility. And be the conduit for the betterment of your fellow men and women. Ultimately, it is the reason we are all here…….