I was reflecting on the recent success of a founder I did some work with last year.
He had spent 2021 building a leadership team. Growing his organization. Raising tens of millions of dollars. Landing Fortune 500 clients.
The company grew 300 percent. It was by all accounts a spectacular year.
And an incredibly lonely one.
The people he had inspired to work with him at the beginning are now mostly gone, or layers down in the organization. The clients he initially recruited himself, so critical in those early days, are now small in comparison to the recent wins.
He is no longer working in the business, which he loved, but on the business.
And he has no one in his circle who has any idea how to relate.
To the uncertainty, yes, but especially to the loneliness.
Simply put, there is no one who understands that he is the same flawed fragile human being that he was before all the success.
He is constantly on guard. He is constantly wary of people wanting to manipulate him. He is constantly acting like what he thinks others want to see in a leader. Calm, clear, confident.
And he is exhausted. Because he doesn’t see that the same heartfelt humanity that he brought to the early stages is exactly what is needed now.
That finding at least one person he can be human with is the most important thing he can do.
What if you saw that, too? Wherever you are in your leadership journey?