My understanding of my leadership has changed through this fellowship in so many ways. I recall when I first found out that I was chosen to be a fellow, that I felt like a small child with a new skill. It was like I had just learned to tie my shoes. I wanted to show everyone. I was feeling kind of confident. Then I felt frozen, Like a deer in headlights. I wasn't sure why I was chosen and had this feeling that I have heard others describe as imposer syndrome. It was like I was moving in slow motion, even my thoughts seemed frozen. I felt like I was taking a long time to plan, and figure out the way I wanted to approach things specific to leadership. I felt like I was on a pendulum swing from this confident understanding of my purpose and path, to unsure, unknowing and frankly kind of scared person who was playing like a leader. After the shifting back and forth and feeling kind of uncomfortable with my understanding of my leadership, after a little settling of the dust, I started feeling like yeah...I am still the same person who is on a path that is much more lighted. I see more clearly that my leadership evolves with me. I think I was thinking leadership was this particular part of me, and I believe that I am looking at my leadership now more like it is me, it is the way in which I operate. It is why my community bestowed the title of leader to me. Leader was a title given to me, I earned it because of the way I move through the world, and the folks that I have worked with and for believed in my concepts, ideas and efforts to make our world a better place.
Focusing on my own leadership was super uncomfortable at first. I think I was coming from the space of self care and rest is for other folks. Do as I say and forget about what I am doing. I think I though meditating and doing some basic stuff around "self care" was good enough. I did not realize how much in need of refocus and self reflection I really was. I know have understanding that it is not enough to apply your own oxygen mask first. That you actually need to breathe in and out to get the oxygen circulating. I didn't know that I had not been taking in deep breaths, I didn't realize that my lungs were collapsing because I was not taking any deep breaths. I didn't realize how out of breath I was. Taking the time to focus inward has been such a gift. I now have a new understanding and I am finding that by focusing time on my own development have given me a broader range. I can do things differently when I am feeling like I am paying attention to self.
Now I understand that self care is much more than bubble baths. It is really about the daily everyday caring of self and the intentional dedication and investment in self that creates sustainability and strengthens my desire to be a great leader.