Dealing With A Stumble

Miguel Lebrón
3 min readOct 19, 2021

Accepting help is not a sign of weakness, and it doesn’t make you less of a leader.

It’s a lovely sunny day, and you’re out for a stroll when all of a sudden you stumble. You teetertotter but eventually catch your balance and don’t fall. As a kneejerk reaction, you may choose to look around. You make sure nobody notices and walk off. Of course, if someone did, they may or may not say anything, and there’s a range of reactions they can have.

They could show concern for your well-being, asking, “are you okay?” or they could try to hide the laughter provoked from your teetering and tottering and ask, “are you okay?” with a humorous tone. Of course, they may look from the corner of their eye and not say a word, thus acting as if they never saw anything.

We all stumble. Life is full of these moments, and sometimes, we, the stumbler, may even get a chuckle out of it. Of course, we should know that stumble and tumble aren’t the same. And thus, our reaction to those events may be different.

A stumble, as mentioned, means you teeter and totter but don’t fall. However, a tumble does end with a fall. Both are events that take place when you are walking or running. However, you must be in motion.

A toddler tetters and totters, and no one says a word; in fact, we encourage them to keep walking. Yet if an adult is seen in this position, people will either show sympathy, empathy, laugh, or ignore the event. I think we have a wide range of reactions because we assume the adult should already knows how to keep a balance. However, “to err is human” as Alexander Pope said.

A genuine concern.

A genuine concern should be displayed when we see someone stumble; however, often, the stumbler refuses help. The frustration of it happening, the embarrassment of others seeing it happen, and the not knowing exactly why this happened leaves the stumbler feeling with nowhere to hide. And yet, rejecting the genuine concern of others can make the event even much more dissatisfying.

The same happens in leadership.

Often we see individuals who have been in leadership so long that they think they are impervious of stumbling or tumbling. And worse, when they do, they refuse any help to regain balance. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness, and it doesn’t make you less of a leader; it actually humanizes you. Often people look at the leader like a guru at the mountain top who is far more enlightened than I and thus cannot be bothered, but to err is human. And because the attention is often on the leader, people see it when they do stumble or tumble, even if from the corner of their eyes.

You may be familiar with Philippians 4:13, which states, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” While this is a powerful verse, I find we often overlook the next verse. “Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.” Notice that one statement does not cancel out the other. Yes, Christ had given Paul the strength to accomplish all that he was to do. However, having that support with him in the face of adversity also provided a level of stability and security that true companionship, partnership, and help can provide.

Keep the faith — accept the help.

So, how do we accept other people’s help in the face of a stumble? (1.) We take a deep breath, (2.) we recognize it isn’t their fault, and thus (3.) we should not take it out on them, and (4.) we take the hand that is extended to us.

Accepting help doesn’t make you less of a leader, just like acknowledging his support system in verse 14 did not negate the fact that Christ was with Paul, as stated in verse prior.

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Originally published at https://www.miguellebron.com on October 19, 2021.

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Miguel Lebrón
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I partner with individuals who have a goal but need a strategy.