When The Heart is a Fickle Leader

This is the second post in the Leadership in Relationship Series

“Follow your heart.”

Everyone says it. It’s an inspiring, freeing idea; rife with opening and possibility.

I’m here to tell you, it’s not always the best part of you to follow.

heart of paperclips

I Had My Heart Set

I often like to say I finally became an adult, in a cultural fashion, when I decided to purchase a home.

I grew up living in rental apartments in New York City. I knew nothing about houses, or homeownership. After looking at just five houses, I fell in love with one.

This quaint house had two wooded acres. A big deck. A pool. Big windows and lots of light. Stairs!

The price was right.

My heart saw pictures of my happy life here: The dog running around, safe from cars; intimate gatherings with dear friends, the mud room filled with a variety of boots. I could smell the different seasons. It said. “Let’s go!”

But I had hired an angel of an inspector who saw beyond my fantasies into a situation I had not yet learned to spot: A predatory real-estate agent and a moldy house with lots of holes, literally.

She pulled me aside, looked me squarely in the eye and said:

“You do not have to buy this house.”

If I didn’t, the other couple, who supposedly also put a bid on it, would. And I would miss out.

After explaining a few structural terms and options to me, and then graciously suggesting I purchase a book called “Not One Dollar More”, the inspector concluded by saying,

“There will be others.”

My heart balked. “Noooo!!!! This is the one!!!!”

I didn’t want to listen to her. My heart had spoken.

Leading in Creating Partnership

When entering a relationship of any sort, be it romantic, business, or friendship, listening to your heart is paramount.

But the heart itself is not always a trustworthy leader. It simply is. It likes what it likes. It loves things that are good for it, it loves things that are bad for it. It’s up to us to discriminate, to steer the ship that rides on heart’s waves.

Otherwise, it can lead you into consequences that you may want to avoid.

Consequences you may have even lived through once or twice already.

Consequences like giving your heart to those who ignore, disrespect or abuse you; doing too many things you love at once and suffering burnout; following a whim and going into debt, or keeping an ineffective employee on board.

Bringing leadership into creating relationship has many aspects, one of which requires that you carry your heart’s passion alongside other parts of you. Parts of you that reflect, assess, protect and contain. It means that you ask yourself important questions and listen for the answers. Questions such as:

What do I want out of a business or romantic partnership? How do I want to feel in this relationship?  What is the purpose(s)? What are my non-negotiatbles?

Then you wait, gather information through action and experience, and form your answers — which inform your actions.

The heart is not good at waiting, or leaving. Share on X

Your heart may want to stay connected to another, or something like a house, no matter the circumstances.

Regarding the house — luckily for me, past experiences of regret allowed me to summon the strength to listen to this one persistent and party-pooping voice:  There is Too Much Time and Money Involved to not listen to the inspector.

I later learned about what a mess it protected me from stepping into. So I lost a little money. I now knew that I wanted to have the same feelings about a house, but with better circumstances to fit the rest of my life. That took another 13 months and visits to more than 80 houses.

For myself and for many people, the simple leadership shift of softening the heart’s grip and moving on seems impossible especially when it comes to relationships.

“Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread”. You become a real wise man by treading around like a fool, and then learning from it.

Don’t abandon your heart by letting it lead all the time.

Do you resonate? How do you lead in relationship? Leadership skills can help reduce drama and increase fun, creativity and satisfaction in our relationships. Learn how to stand in your authority in intimacy: Intimate Authority Online Course

9 responses to “When The Heart is a Fickle Leader”

  1. Lalita Raman says:

    This post could not have been more timely for me Blair. Leading from the heart is good as far as empathy, and dealing with others is concerned. But on some occasions heart doesn’t see what the brain tells it. Heart is too led by passion :).

    You have made an excellent point on loosening the soft grip of the heart to let go off some relationships especially those that pull you away from
    Moving forward.

    Lovely post.

  2. Terri Klass says:

    Such a wonderful post, Blair because the heart and mind need to work in tandem. I also tend to trust my heart and gut but try to summon my mind to think things through. It’s hard sometimes to do that as you saw with your home purchase. Thanks for being so genuine!

    • Blair Glaser says:

      Thanks, Terri. It is a fine balance. I appreciate your reading the post. I always enjoy your reflections.

  3. Alli Polin says:

    Blair, I have worked with and for leaders I’ve LOVED only to find out that they didn’t go to bat for me, or gave the awesome assignment we had discussed with so much passion to someone else. I felt let down and hurt to say the least. I still like them a lot but see that my heart had expectations of their behavior that just could not be met all the time.

    Also makes me think of a friend that I know that stayed in an abusive relationship far too long. She loved him. So what? Her heart would not accept that he also hurt her over and over. Her heart wanted love but her brain had to see that’s not what she’s getting from her partner. Proud of my friend that found the strength and courage to stop listening to her heart and leave.

    • Blair Glaser says:

      Hey Alli, I so relate and thanks so much for sharing. It is hard to watch our friends stay in sour relationships for the sake of love, isn’t it? I imagine it’s even harder to be that person.

      Those silly managers, they don’t know what they missed in not selecting you for the job.

  4. Carla Feldschuh says:

    So true. The heart provides useful feedback, but not the only useful feedback. To make wise decisions we need to listen in a more multi-faceted way. It’s good to be reminded, because the heart’s job is to be very persuasive and our job is to listen to all our sources of input.

  5. […] With all my current focus on emotions on trust, I found this post insightful: When the Heart is a Fickle Leader. […]

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