I often say that I grew up in a “Leave it to Beaver” household. If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, go look it up right now! I say that because Kathy and Jamie, my unbelievable parents, were so respectful; they did not argue in front of me, and there was no yelling or screaming.
And as grateful as I am, and I know that there are countless benefits to growing up in that environment, there was one big miss – I didn’t know how to have a civil disagreement with anyone. So when I became a teenager, any time I had the slightest difference of opinion or was arguing with my boyfriend, I flew off the handle! I went the complete opposite way.
Fast forward into my first official leadership role at my corporate job, where I’m sleeping only four hours every night because I can’t get everything done in the regular hours of the day, I am an awful human being to my family, and I have no social life. Yet, I show up to the office, to my team, every day, with the biggest smile on my face; nobody has a clue what I’m going through.
It wasn’t until 13 months later, after I totally burned out, that I even started to share what I had done; what it was taking for me to get to that level – to produce what I was producing professionally. One of my team members shared with me, “Colleen, I had no idea!” Here I was doing a disservice to my team, just like my parents unknowingly had done for me, because I wasn’t sharing everything that it took to be doing what I was doing. I wasn’t modeling good behavior for everyone else who wanted to become a leader themselves.
Don’t be a Cleaver! Don’t show up in your life, personally, professionally, with your family, with your colleagues, or with your team being a Cleaver, making everything sound like it’s picture-perfect.
Now that’s not to say that you come in and vomit all of your problems and that you are a sobbing wreck or a mess. There is a way to model struggle, to model disagreements, to show real-life happening while it’s done in a calm, professional manner. But don’t be a Cleaver and make everything seem like it’s picture-perfect.
Where are you being a Cleaver in your life? Share in the comments below, let’s get that result!