Leading from “disadvantage” Pt. 1

By: José Humphreys

I worked as a casemanager several years ago at a community guardian program.  This program was mandated by the courts to work with people deemed unable to manage their life affairs.  Our responsibility (and privilege) therefore was to ensure they lived viable and healthy lives in their communities.  Now most of these folks were on psychotropic medications because they were diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness.  Looking back, I saw how in many cases people who were consistent with their medication would feel regulated.  It was in this regulatory state that they often discontinued their meds and fell into crisis.  The feeling of "normalcy" swayed them into thinking they no longer needed medicinal support.

I think this can also serve as a metaphor for leadership.  We feel stable so then we ever so subtly disconnect from accountability.  Or another scenario:  we’re bleeding and we don’t want to bleed in front of the people who care for us the most.  I remember back to Jesse Ventura’s famous line in the movie Predator. Ventura’s compatriot points to his open wound and tells him he’s bleeding.  Jesse Ventura then retorts, "I aint go time to bleed".  While this may wax to some as male bravado, I must underscore that there was someone there to notice his woundedness.  It’s not until we’re around other wounded healers or leaders that we realize the extent of our own need (or bleed).

Latino Leadership Circle reminded me of this the other day.  I was back in touch with the continued need to check-in because of the propensity to become lulled or hypnotized into a false sense of normalcy.  It isn’t until someone points out our woundedness, perhaps through the narrative of their own lives, or through some valuable insight, that we once again become familiar with the incisions and fissures on the surface of our souls. 

"God’s strength is made perfect in weakness"


  1. Jose,
    We have been trained to hide from our childhood, throughout school, often our friendships and even church have taught us all to hide what we are experiencing and feeling. We are often pressured to assimilate to varying cultures–the dominant culture, the corporate culture, the church culture, at the expense of personhood.
    Authenticity comes at a price tag–people are judged, condemned, marginalized, ridiculed, and ostracized for daring to be themselves when that self runs against the grain of the expectations of a given group or culture. By owning our pain we own a part of ourselves; by sharing our pain we risk the opportunity of affirmation or rejection. Risk is the price of admission for true love. Sadly it is a price many of us are unwilling to pay opting for a lonely world of superficial acceptance, tepid relationships, and lifeless community. My heart and respect go out for all who pay the high cost of authentic relationships. Let us walk humbly before God and before the sacred ground of our naked souls.

  2. I had to go back several months to see what you talked about, topics of choice, you know. Kind of like to get a feel of what brings you together so well. I have to say I was very taken back by these two writings I found by David Ramos and Jose Humphreys.
    I often like to read a good book, to get my mind off the things that test my restless side. And found that not having a good book in hand was a good excuse to read back and by Gods grace I found these two wonderfully well written posts. You both are philosophers in your own right. Awesome thinkers, and your intelligence is very admirable. I so needed to read this about now. Never too late, for a thank you!

  3. Thank you g_revelation; many blessings upon you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *