Victor Hugo – “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

The quote above from Les Misérables is one of the most famous I believe from what Hugo wrote. And in that sentence is a principle that I believe leaders should incorporate deeply in their personal leadership DNA. 

This will pass. 

For the last eighteen months, our world has been in the midst of a difficult season. From a worldwide pandemic, with economic ramifications that have affected nearly every part of our world, to political divisiveness and rancor that has at times reached a fever pitch, this has been a tough, tough time for a lot of people. 

Leaders have had to step up and lead in ways they never anticipated. Change has been a constant (well, in any growing organization it always is really, but this season introduced even more than normal). We’ve had to PIVOT (how many times have you heard that word?). We’ve had to adapt. And we’ve had to lead with that mix of optimism and realism that all leaders recognize. 

Here’s what I know. This will pass. 

The pandemic will, at some point, be in the rear view mirror. The pace of the last eighteen months will slow (even if only slightly). As Hugo said so well, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” 

It will. 

Discouragement has been high among many of the leaders I’ve talked to over the last year. I understand that – it’s been tough. But in the midst of the darkest night, perhaps the darkest night of your leadership journey so far, draw strength from the truth that Hugo put into words. This will pass. The sun will rise. 

And you need to be ready.

Over the last year, I’ve led our team through a number of exercises and processes to sharpen our thinking, clarity our strategy, and strengthen our focus. I wanted to use this season well, to be able to look back and say that we did not waste the year. Leaders want to move the ball up the field. We want the ball, even though the person with the ball is the one that often gets tackled! 

If you’re struggling with discouragement, know that you’re not alone. Know that this will pass. And know that you will either emerge from this season weaker or stronger. Stasis only exists in a laboratory.

Take a step now toward emerging stronger. 

You’ll be glad you did. 

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