“They killed him because of me” …as I sobbed into the telephone, at the other end Sushmaji’s silence gave me a patient hearing. Admonishing me gently she said, “Don’t let people see you cry, they will think you are weak.” I told her I needed to vent before I step out. She said, “Vent all you want but not a tear when you step out”. I was deeply touched on reading this part of the tribute written by Smriti Irani to Sushma Swaraj. My co-founder pointed out how leaders swing between strength and vulnerability. And sometimes, they encompass both at the same time! We were discussing – men or women, why should crying or venting out emotions be seen as a weakness? To what extent, should leaders or people in relatively powerful positions mask their emotions? Isn’t vulnerability a competency in today’s age? It allows you to not carry the additional burden of emotions onwards, and hence focus and be more successful. On the eve of an occasion like Independence Day, if we as a society and in the corporate world, freed up people from this unnatural expectation of coming across as “strong”, we will be doing a favor to this human ecosystem. It would be a fitting tribute to leaders like Sushma Swaraj who could have been much more at ease without this additional pressure. IndependenceDay