I have always felt that a true leader, at least in the cultural sense, was not or is not capable or privileged to decide he or she is a leader. From the very beginning, all the way back to the moment I made the decision to apply for the fellowship this has been on my mind in one way or another. I feel that the concept is a point of contention for many people but even more so for Native Americans. It is our nature to practice humility amongst other virtues. I have sought elder's counsel many times in my life because I have learned that perspectives are an asset in adapting, adjusting and improving. Being open to advice is conducive to my ability to reflect. This conscientious pause gives me moments in which I can take time and see the issue at hand in a manner that allows me the opportunity to implement the solution that facilitates real change. Sustainable change. Long lasting change. One of the understandings that I have realized is the change I work to attain is really reflected in the work itself. It isn't just a job or a career; it has become a lifestyle. It is how I live my life. The work includes giving opportunity to others and being willing to implement different ideas while being cognizant of the tangible vs the intangible.
Self-care is invaluable, period. Initially, I had heard of an event people were referring to as: burnout. I have visited with many people that I do respect and who work very hard in their respective careers. All had advice regarding what has become a dreadful topic for me. The dreaded burnout. Many of the conversations I had with various individuals initially initiated a fearful thought as to when this horrid event would overtake me and my efforts. I welcomed advice from any and all and still do but I have made peace with the idea that when I am done is the day I know Creator has set for me to be done. On that day I will have done enough and I am good with that but until then I will continue wotking for my goals and dreams while theoretically planting new seeds in my colleagues and with every youth and young adult that I share the circle with. My efforts are grounded in community and that is the mechanism to measure the success but it is also the sole determiner of leadership. Am I a leader? Ask my community.