3 Leadership Lessons You May Have to Learn the Hard Way

She decided to grow a flower garden, and went about it as methodically as she did most things: studying the soil, choosing and planting the seeds with care, nourishing the ground, watering and tending week after week.

When her garden started to bloom, she had the beautiful flowers she’d dreamed of—but along with them were sprouting dandelions.

She went to the books to study on how to get rid of them, but after trying the techniques, the dandelions were still there.

She signed up for gardening courses and learned even more things to try, but the dandelions didn’t give an inch.

Now she was getting angry.

She sought out experts and brought her problem to them. Some recommended new methods, some old-fashioned remedies. She tried them all, but at the end of her efforts the dandelions were still there.

Frustrated beyond belief, she went out to her garden and sat there for a long time in silence.

She looked at the garden, and she thought of all the hard work, all that she’d learned, all the people she’d connected with, all the new ideas she had been able to incorporate.

She saw a garden of beauty, and she said to herself, “I can look at this as a challenge that I am not able to overcome, or I can see that I have learned a lot and I can learn to love it.”

And so it was.

Where are the stubborn weeds in your leadership, the challenges that are causing frustration?

What are the unwanted situations that make you feel things are out of control?

Which challenging person has planted themselves firmly in your life, that is making you feel ungrounded?

1. The weeds in our lives—the things that give us a hard time and make us feel frustrated—have a significant value. They show us that our frustrations are self-induced—the outside world can invite us to become upset, but we can ultimately decline the invitation. For leaders,  this among their best teachers.

2. Our unwanted situations are lessons in learning to control the things within our reach and let go of the rest.  Incredible change can happen in life when we decide to take control of the things we actually do have power over instead of craving control over the rest. Leaders need to learn the difference between what they can control and what they have to let go of.

3. The people in our lives who have planted themselves firmly and constantly threaten to disrupt our lives and leadership? They are opportunities for us to learn, and to grow by embracing them for who they are—just as we would want them to embrace us.

The challenges in our lives are our wake-up calls, our lessons to be learned.

Life is tough but so are we, leadership is difficult but we can overcome.

Lead From Within:



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now


Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Terri Klass

    08. Apr, 2014

    We learn the most from our challenges once we acknowledge them. Recognizing the tasks or people that may be causing us hardship or insecurity isn’t always so easy.

    For many years I partnered with an individual who was unable to be collaborative or open to my perspective. I thought if I was tougher I would be able to overcome my disconnected feelings. Finally I just spoke to myself honestly and took the action I needed to take for a long time. I empowered myself to go my own way.

    We don’t always have to live with the weeds.

    Love the post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  2. LaRae Quy

    08. Apr, 2014

    “Life is tough but so are we!”

    Love this, Lolly…a great post that reminds us empowerment comes from within 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  3. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

    08. Apr, 2014

    Lolly- sometimes the difficulty in plucking the weeds lies in damaging the flowers at the same time. Barbara

    Reply to this comment
  4. affirmingspirit

    08. Apr, 2014

    Everything and everyone that comes our way is going to teach us a lesson. All of life is here to teach us, and the lesson they bring is about ourselves.

    Absolutely, Lolly!

    When we embrace everything and everyone as a “blessing”, we begin to see and experience those blessings. We are always in control of our perceptions, even if we believe we are not.

    Enjoying the #leadfromwithin weekly chats when I am able to participate. 😉

    Many blessings,

    Reply to this comment
  5. sridhar laxman

    08. Apr, 2014

    Hello Lolly

    Thank you for another inspiring post. Your words have such incredible power in them, a real treat to read!

    Your point about changing what we can and learning to let go of the rest is important.

    We waste too much valuable time and energy trying to get everyone and everything to be “our way”.

    Embracing acceptance can be liberating as will be increasing our self awareness and taking complete responsibility for our own learning and growth.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Gordon Smith

    21. Aug, 2015

    Great Post Lolly. Power of the mind is without question. A doctor Phd Always told me firts thing when you awake is ” Think Happy Think Healthy ” Then have a full glass of clean water. Hers to your natural health and wellness Gordon

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply