Excessive Baggage

“We cannot hold on to things and enter.” 
Mark Nepo
Baggage – it comes in many forms. 
  • Regret
  • Anger and Resentment
  • Need for Perfection
  • Lack of Forgiveness

As a leader, I believe we need to set a good example for our staff, for our peers, or for our boss. Indeed, everyone is watching a leader and thus, leaders need to model good behavior at all times.

Carrying baggage around is not good behavior.


Too many of us are burdened with the feeling of failure when perfection evades us. Surely we could have done better! Next time, next time!  But alas, perfection is an elusive creature and we fail again. In the end, our desire for perfection robs us of any joy or recognition of our accomplishments. As a result, our failure carry-ons send a clear message to our staff: good is not good enough! You must win, you must be error free and you must be perfect in order to be of value.


Too many of us spend mental energy kicking ourselves in the butt for what we did or failed to do. Whether it is an uncomfortable relationship because of something we said or failed to say, or it’s the position we’re in because of risks we took or failed to take, we worry, we over-analyze and we read too much into them. In doing so, we give our regrets power over our current thoughts and our future actions. Carrying these virtual suitcases of regret are the equivalent of telling our staff it is ok to perseverate on the past.


Too many of us struggle with turning the other cheek. Sometimes, our skin still burns with the offense and we believe we’re being “just” by continuing to hold something over one’s head. We give a cold shoulder and assume our bad attitude will make the other person “pay.” However, this rarely works and denying forgiveness is like over-sized baggage on a continental flight – it comes with a hefty price! Failing to forgive breeds discontent, invites distrust and fear, and disables any chance of engagement, learning and satisfaction.


Too many of us allow our anger and frustration to mold our behaviors at work. Maybe we withhold positive recognition for someone because he pissed us off last week or perhaps our jealousy prohibits us from sharing in another person’s achievements. Or sometimes, we get so caught up in our own pity party that we fail to realize someone else needs our empathy and compassion. As leaders, we must appreciate that carrying around bags of anger will empower others to fill their sacks up as well.

Baggage. Indeed, it comes in many forms. 

The above examples are the bags I carry around but the truth is, I cannot hold on to them and enter.

I must let them go, open the door and carry only what I need over the threshold if I am to be a good leader.
What baggage do you need to let go?


  • About the Author

    Heather Kinzie, SHRM-SCP, serves as the Chief Operating Officer for The Strive Group. With more than 20 years of organizational and workforce performance experience, Kinzie offers consulting, coaching, content development and training to clients. She oversees a team of experts who utilize a broad, systematic approach to problem solving and consultation.

    Recognizing the critical importance of leadership, communication and effective collaboration among teams, Kinzie is committed to helping clients improve communication, engagement and organizational performance.

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