1) The first time we cheated on an exam, and how we got caught because we were not experts, while those who cheated on all exams always got away with it.

2) The day we were the only ones telling the truth but no one would believe us, and those who did, chose to look the other way. Then the day we started to scream the truth to the point where our throats bled, but people chose to accuse us of going insane.

3) The first time we were on a stage–how our hearts pounded so hard we could hear it, how our palms sweated the mic started to slip and how our feet turned ice-cold standing on them seemed like mission: impossible… but yet we maintained a good posture, found words escaping our lips and, after we were done, we heard a loud round of applause, so we said to ourselves, “Let’s do that again!”.

4) The day we got passed over for a promotion we’ve anticipated for so long and watched someone who did not deserve it and never worked hard for it hijack it. Despite that, we refused to surrender to injustice even when it meant quitting our jobs and finding better roles elsewhere.

5) The number of times we hit rock bottom, glued ourselves to the couch, watched classic movies day and night, ate like pigs and became allergic to the shower… but then we got up, pulled ourselves together and climbed to the top AGAIN!

6) The day we realized everyone we trusted and confided in at work was spreading rumors about us and stabbing us in the back this whole time… it felt as if the ground were tilting beneath our feet, but we managed to walk steadily no one realized we knew what they were up to.

7) That time when we were fighting for justice but instead got accused of having hidden agendas while those who were actually trying to hide the truth had everyone on their side.

8) The day our buddies abandoned us and took the side of deceitful schemers. We chose to fight alone because we were not sheep like the rest of them.

9) The day we were forced to apologize to someone who did us wrong because everyone bought their poor-ole-me act. We were honest and incapable of acting, so we were perceived as the wrongdoers.

10) How we tolerated incompetent, sneaky bosses who were threatened by our talents and were so afraid we’d outshine them they had to sabotage us and make our lives at work miserable each and every day.

11) How we spoke up for ourselves and refused to allow insecure bosses to undermine us, insult us, silence us, threaten us, yell at us or sabotage our careers. We stood up for ourselves and for our teams and told the sneaky losers to go to hell even when it costed us our jobs–our toxic jobs hopefully.

12) How we advocated for others and hated to see them done injustice although they were jerks who literally deserved to die, and even though they were mean b*tches who never spared a chance to stab us in the back.

13) The scenes in comedy movies which deeply touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes, but we managed to hide them because a comedy movie is supposed to make one laugh.

14) The first time we said goodbye to someone who meant the world to us, be it a family member or a close friend, and how we managed to overcome the pain and move on.

15) The times when our hearts were broken and how we survived the pain. We sobbed, we stayed up all night, we drowned our sorrows in ways that hurt our health and we slept under the bed in a fetal position… yet, no one saw the pain in our faces–we wore our best smiles, held our chins up and did our jobs perfectly well.

16) How we managed to nail or survive a job interview… and how we screwed one up. How we felt like smacking the employer interrogating us, but instead, we smiled and pretended we were enjoying the ordeal like expert masochists.

17) How we tolerated toxic work environments for so long even though we were told by many HR experts to leave and find better workplaces, but we were so stubborn and arrogant we needed to prove to ourselves we could change the world. However, we then realized we failed, admitted it and found ourselves better workplaces because we knew our worth.

18) How we called the boss everyone feared an ‘a**hole’ and got away with it–probably even got promoted… simply because when we said it, we did not give a rat’s a**.

19) The day we were so depressed getting out of bed required a ginormous amount of strength, yet we got up, took a shower, got dressed, held our chins up, joked and laughed at office, lent others a shoulder to cry on and finished our tasks perfectly well before we retired back into our gloomy caves of despair.

20) How we looked so fierce and strong on the outside while on the inside we were shattering into a gazillion microscopic pieces.

21) How we sat with that aching friend just to make sure s/he was going to be fine.

22) The day we held a worried person’s hand and told them everything would be fine at a time when we so badly needed someone to hold our hands and tell us the same.

23) How we lied to our parents on several occasions just because we did not want them worrying about us. We dealt with our problems on our own and survived alone although most people thought we were spoiled brats.

24) The first time we did something illegal but never got caught it made us feel as victorious as Alexander the Great.

25) The day we had to lock ourselves in the restroom and cry our eyes out because we were sick of putting up with that jealous bitch at work who had everyone on her side… or probably was our boss.

26) How we managed to walk through corridors filled with adult bullies and pretended everything was fine just because we loved our jobs and chose to rise above the pettiness.

27) The guilt we felt when we could not have our morning coffee with our families because we ought to rush to work where our coffee tasted so bitter and muddy in the presence of our mean coworkers.

28) The day our voices were muffled by those who sold their souls to the devil.

29) The number of times we watched our lousy employers exploit and manipulate us without calling them d***heads to their faces!

30) The day we looked the psychopaths in our lives in the eye and told them they did not deserve us.

31) The day everyone blamed us for being passionate about our jobs, honest and exceptionally talented… our jealous coworkers no longer spoke to us and the top management thought we planned on overthrowing them and taking over the company… or maybe the world.

32) The days we spent dealing with incompetent coworkers, who were only good at gossip and scheming, without telling them they were sick losers who deserved to die a horrible death (maybe I got carried away a little).

33) All the bad decisions we made, all the challenges we gladly accepted and all the bridges we willfully burned.

34) How we reacted to the worst pieces of news we ever heard.

35) How we accepted and dealt with rejection several times, and how we widened our comfort zones.

36) The day we sympathized with our enemies.

These, and many more, are what makes a great leader… not the degrees we have, not the positions we held and not the money we made.

Originally published at anantello.blogspot.com