Leaders as Gardeners: Hidden-ness Part 2

In my previous post I introduced the concept of hidden-ness. I offer this exploration in the hope it will help anyone who feels they are hidden to embrace their hidden-ness, and help anyone who knows someone who is hidden to support them on their journey through hidden-ness.

Hidden-ness is not the same as loneliness. It is tempting when hidden to withdraw but it is important at every stage to journey with fellow travellers who may not be able to make it easy for you but who will at least ensure you are never alone. If no-one else then the role of Mothers and Fathers (Leaders as Gardeners) is to accompany those who are hidden on their journey through hidden-ness. No-one who is hidden should ever be alone. If you feel alone reach out to fellow travellers or someone you think could be “mum and dad” to you and whatever you do don’t throw a pity party – however colourful the invitations no-one will show up.

Hidden-ness is not the same as hiding. Hiding is a sign of fear and insecurity. Embracing hidden-ness is a sign of security because I know who I am. Don’t hide when it’s time to turn up but do allow yourself to be hidden when it’s time to be.

The growth and development associated with hidden-ness is primarily to do with identity and character. This part of your journey is more about who you are becoming than where you are going which is why I believe Mothers and Fathers play such an important role towards those who are hidden. They affirm identity and build character during the seasons of hidden-ness. Hidden-ness is about ensuring that our roots grow down deep into the soil of love and acceptance and not the soil of fear and insecurity. The fruit grown in these two soils may look the same but it tastes very different.

Hidden-ness is the place of serving and shaping. If hidden-ness is linked to waiting well then one of the things we can learn from the lives of those I’ve mentioned is that to wait well is to serve well. Hidden-ness can cause me to feel sorry for myself and sit down but the key to being well-hidden is to be moved with compassion for someone else and stand up. As we serve we find we are shaped not just by the act of service but by those we serve. If you are hidden today find someone to serve and be shaped by them.

Hidden-ness is the place of training and equipping. Hidden-ness can present the opportunity to learn. Before stepping up into a new role or greater responsibility it can be a safe place to practice.

I want to finish with one final point about Mums and Dads. You see whilst I’ve said that it is important for mothers and fathers to help us embrace our hidden-ness and accompany us on that journey it is also within the gift of Mothers and Fathers at the right time and in the right way to signal a season shift and lead us out of hidden-ness.


Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant