The isolated leader is the vulnerable leader. That’s one of the themes that I hit hard this week when teaching several dozen leaders from around the country. I know leaders and I know that all too often too many feel very alone.
“Alone.” That’s the title of a series I just stumbled across on Amazon Prime. It’s the account of ten men deposited in different parts of the wilderness of Vancouver Island in late fall, early winter. The challenge was to see just who would last the longest alone. The grand prize was $500,000!
These were trained and experienced wilderness experts. They were each allowed to select ten items for survival. Things like knives, tarps, fishing line, cooking pots and axes. In addition, they were each issued things such as a medical kit, bear spray, flares and satellite phones for emergency rescue.
One tough guy lasted only one night because of the bears prowling around his tent. Another tapped out due to contaminated water. Most lasted several weeks. Only two lasted over seven weeks. They were gaunt, cold and lonely to the point of tears.
It was the tears that surprised me the most. They were instructed to spill their guts before the cameras supplied. They did just that, even to the point of grieving with heaving over being separated from their families and friends. These guys didn’t just feel alone, they really were alone. Each was separated from the others by miles with no means of communication and it almost drove them crazy. With limited food and sleep and frigid nights, one said: “I’m not good in the head.”
“It’s not good for man to be alone.” I used to think that statement in Genesis 2 only applied to men needing marriage. Clearly that’s true for most men, but that’s not all. Every man, and every woman, was built for community. We were hard wired to connect with both our heads and hearts.
This I know, your life and mine will never be any richer than our relationships! I don’t need to spend seven weeks alone in the cold and surviving on seaweed and slugs to convince me of that. I am deeply grateful for the rich relationships that God has blessed me with, how about you?
So, who are the five or so closest to you? I dare you to do two things:
- Name them!
- Tell them!
I guarantee if you do it will be good both for them and for you, and you won’t feel so alone at all!
Blessings, Alan Ahlgrim
Founder and CSO (Chief SoulCare Officer) Covenant Connections for Pastors