I am kind.
I’ve been taught most of my life that kind is weak.
Makes me vulnerable to victimization.
Makes me ineffective at leading others.
And of course, why wouldn’t the world say as much?
Kind is soft.
Soft is traditionally feminine.
Men are hard. Tough. They like soft things.
So women…. women are soft to appease the male-counterpart energy.
I’ve lived this lie for a very long time.
My first memory of realizing kind was bad was when I was 7 and I was introduced to my new stepfamily.
They were hard.
Sarcastic. Mean. Hurtful to be funny.
Kind wasn’t appreciated. It was mocked.
This was a repeating pattern in my life.
So it was unsurprising that when I became a young leader I was confronted with this same paradigm.
Kind leaders fail.
Strong leaders win.
Kind is weak.
Strong is powerful.
Kind is likened to passive.
Strong is, of course, aggressive.
I now know more than ever that leadership is feminine. And thanks to my coach, Natalie Olsen, I am now all-in on my kindness as my superpower. I no longer tuck it in like something to be ashamed of in the world of leading and managing. Instead, I wear it proudly and model it consistently to show myself and others how it is truly a leadership superpower.
Mean strength is ugly, cruel, unsophisticated, and boring.
I’m over it.
I’m over comparing myself to it.
People who mistake cruelty and insults as strength aren’t leaders, they are manipulators.
They are masters at the insult to negate who you think you are and can be.
Kindness is the strongest of the strengths. To show up and love even when you hurt is real strength. To find love even in a vacuum of over-powering false strength is to really be strong.
The world is ready for kindness. Not the cruel people’s false equivalency. The authentic kindness that only those who know, know. And yes, that does make us ripe to the vulnerability of being hurt.
But we’re strong with our knowledge of who we are and that we can find one another, rally around each other, and change the world for each other.
I am kind. How about you?