I wake at 4:30 am. I’m grateful it’s past 4 at least but wishing it was the more reasonable hour of 5 because I know I won’t be getting any more sleep.
My mind has latched onto worry. Like a moth to a flame, sure to die in the heat but drawn in even so, I can’t stay away from revisiting the pain.
We failed our kid. He asked for help and we responded slowly, distracted by our work, our lives. He lost an opportunity he really wanted because of it.
My heart hurts for him.
In my rational brain, I can see and understand the nuances.
He’ll be ok.
There will be another option.
He is a highly capable adult and responsible and will figure out next steps.
But my mother heart is heavy. Filled with remorse and regret and worry. And lots of self-judgment. I feel like a terrible mother.
Knowing sleep is impossible, I get up to write hoping I will gain clarity and peace. I grab the book sitting next to my journal - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephan Covey - and bring both with me to the living room.
I write down my thoughts then pick up the book and open it at a random page.
P. 114: Leadership and Management.
Stephan Covey talks about how leadership and management are two different things. Leadership comes first and management comes second.
Leadership = what things do I want to accomplish?
Management = how can I best accomplish things?
Leadership is the vision.
Management is the execution.
"Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall."
I’ve never thought of those two things as separate - even though I’ve done both my whole life.
Reading Covey's words, I realize that while I was managing my children's lives when they were younger, I was also leading. I just hadn’t called it leadership. I was judging my failure in management as a failure in leadership. But they aren’t the same thing. All three of my adult kids are deeply empathetic, wise, kind to others, and bent on doing good in the world.
Dropping a ball on paperwork doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent, wife, mother, business owner. It means the paperwork/ball shouldn’t have been in my purview to begin with, or the management of paperwork/ball should have been better delegated, or I need better communication systems in place.
But the leadership I have shown my kids as a parent - as a human - means my kid will be able to take ownership of what he needs to manage his own life.
My revelation didn't help me fall back to sleep, but I sure went through the day feeling a lot lighter.