An Unlikely Leader
I'm fortunate not to have had many medical issues in my life. Perhaps it's because I'm so infrequently in a doctor's office, that the conversations that happen there are so memorable. Case in point, about a week ago as I was being treated for a problematic varicose vein, the doctor began having a lengthy conversation with me and the medical staff about a TV series he had been watching. He explained that the Netflix series, The Crown, followed the life of Elizabeth II as she came into power and began her role as the monarch. Having my curiosity piqued, I decided to give it a try*.
Though I'm sure The Crown is dramatized, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Elizabeth. Her father, King George VI, became King after his brother abdicated the throne in order to marry a divorcee, which was forbidden. This chain of events leads to Elizabeth's coordination and the life altering responsibility thrust upon her.
Until watching this series, I had never considered the fact that monarchs have very little choice in the matter as to if they want to lead a nation. This "privilege" is handed down, completely eradicating any hope for "normal" life. Freedom and privacy is stripped away and in its place comes tradition, ceremony and expectation.
While I'm in no way equating my responsibility as the leader of a non-profit to that of ruling a nation, it made me realize that leadership often doesn't feel natural. Whether you are hired, appointed or born into leadership, it takes time to learn the role. We tend to look at leaders with the expectation that they are confident and fearless. What the general public doesn't see, is that the weight of decision making and the responsibility on that leader is immense. It may get easier with time (at least I hope it will) but for now, I see a bit of myself reflected in the story of Elizabeth and the overwhelming task put before her.
The expression "It's lonely at the top" is a true statement. It's not a lack of people to talk to or colleagues to consult with, but rather, it's the moments where a decision has to be made and the leader must take on the consequences of those decisions. The successes or failures that result are attributed to that leader.
Queen Elizabeth II is now 90 years old. She doesn't get the option to step down or retire. She may have had wealth and comfort all the days of her life, but she's also had 64 years to deal with the heavy weight of the crown. I had previously given her very little thought. I now have a great deal of respect for this remarkable woman.
Leadership is a privilege and honor. While in many ways I'm an unlikely leader, I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to head an organization. I'm equally thankful, that while I am the Director, I also have the oversight of a Board of Directors, the covering and support of my husband, and the guidance of God.
I close with a quote from the wise Uncle Ben: "With great power comes great responsibility." It is indeed something special to be a leader, but it also comes with a cost.
* I'm only 6 episodes in, and while I haven't come across any elicit scenes, it is rated MA.