When I was a shy teenager, I imagined that in every social situation I was the only one who was lost and scared. Now I know better. Most teenagers are lost and scared.

Right now, as an adult, I’m worn out and heartbroken. I’m also aware that the whole world is worn out and heartbroken. That said, we still need to get up every day and try to make the world a better place – even if that’s just our little corner of it. We still need leaders – to inspire by example, to encourage us to keep going, to remind us that there’s goodness and beauty and joy in the world.

We can each be that. We can lead even when we’re broken. Leading doesn’t have to mean taking on another obligation, another burden or responsibility. It can mean that we inspire by example; that we choose to be the person who smiles first, the one who says, “hello” to a stranger, the one who takes the initiative to be generous.

The reward is instantaneous, mutual and magnified. Isolation turns into connection. Skepticism transforms into trust. Helplessness turns into a sense of empowerment. Whatever we give to another, we immediately receive. And it ripples from us out into the world.

Today, may we each do our best to be the one who is willing to take the initiative, willing to lead when broken. Because if we wait for someone else – who’s “got it all together”, who isn’t lost – we may be waiting a long, long time. And to be perfectly honest, this world can’t afford to wait.