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Jacinda Ardern: Anxiety in power. Or the power of anxiety.

A few weeks ago, Jacinda Ardern, now the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, decided to hang up her gloves. And boy did she do it with a speech that has given a lot to talk about:

“You can be anxious, sensitive, kind, and wear your heart on your sleeve, (…) you can be a nerd, a crier, a hugger (…) and not only can you be here; you can lead. Just like me.” she said, tearfully. “While I had convinced myself that you cannot be a worrier and be in this place, you can.”

We think this heartfelt speech reveals a good example of Enneatype 6. It also reminds us of what a healthy Type 6 can achieve, with their strengths well established, if they dare to take power.

When Ardern took office as prime minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she became one of the youngest leaders of a world inhabited by political dinosaurs. And the following year, she made history again by giving birth while still running her country. A superstar!

During her tenure, she led the country with grit and heart. She overcame obstacles like a global pandemic, a terrorist attack, and even a volcanic eruption that shook the country to the core. And that's how New Zealand became an example to the rest of the world.

She told bluntly about her insecurity and anxiety, and how she was beaten in her day-to-day life as prime minister: “I didn’t change. I leave this place as sensitive as I ever was, prone to dwell on the negative, hating ‘question time’ so deeply that I would struggle to eat most days beforehand. And I am here to tell you, you can be that person and you can be here.”

She also opened up about her doubts and internal debates before accepting a role that “I never thought I was meant to have.” She described her struggle as “a cross between a sense of duty to steer a moving freight train and being hit by one. And that’s probably because my internal reluctance to lead was matched only by a huge sense of responsibility.”

And even grappling with her own anxiety, Ardern steps down as a global icon, leaving a legacy of her own in the very areas that led her into politics: "climate change, child poverty and inequality."

The very sensitivity that made her suffer was what made her admirable: her honesty, her humility, and her concern for others. Stand up please, applause!


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