Report date
January 2022
Learning Log

In Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night Malvolio counsels: "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." I’ve been thinking of that quotation as I examine my leadership development path. During this year I’ve realized that those three options outlined by Shakespeare are not mutually exclusive. In my case, I think all three exist simultaneously. I’ve learned that I have some natural leadership skills. Both my mother and father were leaders in our community, and I most likely inherited (was born with) leadership skills or learned from them very early what leadership looks like. I came to this program already a leader in my community. During the Bush Foundation Fellowship, I’ve also learned some skills that have allowed me to enhance my leadership abilities. I’ve learned the need for mentorship and coaching, relationship building, active listening, collaboration, communication skills, and selfcare among many other things. I will continue to build on those long after the fellowship is over. Conditions in communities change and I recognize the need to continually learn new skills and adapt existing skills in order to continue to be an effective leader. As I shifted from some of my previous activities and became more engaged in the fellowship, I realized that the community’s perception and expectation of me didn’t change. Many people in my community look to me for leadership. They expect me to be a leader. It’s like they “thrust (leadership) upon me.” I take the trust that they have in me seriously. I’ve discovered that being afraid of leadership is irrelevant. I am a leader whether I like it or not and I have an obligation to be the best leader possible. The last two years have been incredibly stressful for everyone. The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life and the racial justice protests have highlighted the racism and discrimination that persists and affects every Person of Color. Seeing the effects of these stressors on the people around me and on me personally has convinced me that to be a good leader I have to take care of myself first. In particular during this last month when I’ve purposefully taken some time away to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate, I’ve discovered that I feel better, I have more energy, and I think more clearly. I also realize that self care helps make me a better parent, friend, and colleague. I’ve been programmed so long to focus on objective actions that it’s hard to slow down. However, I’m learning that it’s essential to find some way to nurture my body, mind, and spirit if I’m going to be an effective leader and one that is present for the long term.