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If I am being real here, leadership is hard. Like really, really hard. Especially if you want to do it well and are committed to getting it right for your organization. Right now, leadership is punishing in a way it has never been. The “hang in there kitty” poster has been quoted on a weekly basis in staff meetings everywhere this past year.

Nearly every client I have is dealing with a leadership challenge of some kind. Some are struggling to make their case to decision makers that are torn in a million directions, while others are banging their heads against the wall to secure the resources they need to be successful. Many leaders are just plain tired and don’t know how to renew their passion.

A recent study from DDI Global showed that a whopping 60% of non-profit leaders reported feeling “used up” at the end of each day. Frankly, I am surprised it wasn’t a higher number. Some of you were probably too tired to fill out the survey. And no one would blame you.

We are living through a time of overwhelming challenge. Economic insecurity; Physical and mental healthcare crisis; Political, social and racial divisions; Threats to civil liberties; Guns in schools; War; Refugees; Resource scarcity. Oh, and let’s not forget, the planet is increasing in temperature, jeopardizing so many things that it would take this whole blog to list all of them.

For purpose driven people who want to play a role in making the world a better place, this landscape is a recipe for disaster. Even the best leaders want to bury their heads in the sand, pull the covers over their head scream. AHHHHHHHHH. Where do I start? How do we breakthrough? Oh, and what’s that new thing happening now, and should we drop everything to learn about it? (HINT: Don’t do that.)

Despite the bumpety bumps in the road right now, the need for strong leaders to emerge in every capacity is crucial. And you’re out there. At every level, in every organization. You’re leading from your seat, climbing up the mountain and driving change. We see you.

*poetry snaps*

So, Yoda, what do we do? …

Oh, you thought I had the answer? No. Not really. But I bet you do. I would be willing to go out on a limb and suggest that you know what to do as a leader to overcome some of these challenges in your organization. The starting point is staying calm. Take a few deep breaths. Stay off your email. Then ask yourself these three questions: 1) What are the one or two biggest leadership challenges my organization/department/team are facing right now? (Yes, you can narrow it two or less.) 2) What are my ideas to overcome them? (Come on, I know you have them.) 3) What are the first steps I can take to make progress on my ideas? (Just get started. Write it down. Cross a step or two off.)

Then, put your chin in the air and face what the day has to bring. And maybe in a few days revisit your answers. Rome wasn’t built in a day and what not. Keep making progress. You’re what the world needs right now. You just need to believe it and stay the course. And don’t forget to keep it real.