3 Things I’ve Learned About Confessing as a Leader

In March I had the privilege of emceeing a fundraising gala for Choices Pregnancy Resource Clinic. It was a wonderful night. But, I heard something from someone that I never thought I would hear. It reminded me of an important principle.


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Kirk Walden, a pregnancy center director, author, fundraiser, and a champion of the pro-life cause, was the guest speaker. I was so impressed with him. He was humble and down to earth. There was nothing pretentious about him.

Kirk spoke on one of the most emotionally charged topics in our culture, abortion. I was surprised by the direction he took in his presentation. At one point, Kirk shared a candid story.

He talked about an unexpected pregnancy he and his wife had. In a moment of absolute transparency, he shared something you would NEVER expect someone in his role to share. He admitted to having this thought…

“Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we had a miscarriage.”

It was so shocking because you’d think this would ruin his cause, disqualify him from speaking on the topic, and in turn cause the audience to dismiss him as someone with no authority to address the issue at hand.

But, the opposite happened. His confession…

…enhanced his cause…

…uniquely qualified him to speak on the topic…

…and, engaged the audience in a way that he otherwise never could have.

The purpose of his confession was to show that even the most die hard pro-life person sometimes has to choose life. His confession perfectly communicated the compassion he approaches his work with. You could feel the room change when Kirk shared what he did. I was reminded of this incredibly important principle…

Confession - Kirk Walden.001

I’ve learned these three things to be true when it comes to confessing as a leader…

1. Confession is a discipline.

As a leader, confession is counter-intuitive. It seems wrong to admit a weakness. That’s why I have to discipline myself to do it. But, if it’s done the right way at the right time, confession enhances my influence like nothing else can. Kirk did this brilliantly.

2. I don’t want to be the hero.

If all the people around me thought I was the hero, I’d become the worst possible version of myself. Besides, in Jesus’ school of leadership, I lead by serving, humbling myself, and making myself nothing. There’s no place for me to be the hero.

3. I’m not perfect…or anywhere close to it.

If you were to be around me for any length of time, you’d learn quickly that I’m nowhere near perfect. It’s crazy for me, or anyone else, to think that I could portray a flawless image. I’m extremely flawed so I want to be the one to let the cat out of the bag.

I became a big fan of Kirk’s that night simply because he was honest about having a thought I’m sure he wishes he never would’ve had.

How have you seen someone’s influence enhanced by a confession? I’d love for you to share your insights.

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