Report date
October 2022
Learning Log

My understanding of my own leadership has drastically evolved over the fellowship. I've had the chance to deepen my understanding of leadership and observe how it influences those around me. Society had consistently reminded me that only a select few and a particular sort of people—mostly white people—were capable of holding positions of leadership. I put forth a lot of effort as I started my fellowship to refute that narrative and to realize my purpose of being the educational leader that my community and I both needed.

I started looking for mentors that resembled me and were interested in getting to know me. I was able to reflect on my personal journey because these mentors were able to provide space for me. At the beginning of the fellowship, I thought that successful leaders kept busy and had lots of followers. Since then, I've discovered that leaders don't necessarily require a sizable following to be seen as such. I came to understand that leadership starts with the way I lead myself. How I am able to organize my time and resources, as well as how I can be courageous in pursuing my goals. Leadership for me changed from being about other people to being about knowing myself better.

I now have a greater awareness of the distinction between management and leadership, which has helped me understand better leadership. Leadership is influencing others and looking out for others, while management is having power and authority provided to a person from outside. Serving others makes you a leader. It is about helping others, showing them respect, and developing their potential. I want to continue to lead with love, strength, and compassion as I learn more about leadership. The fellowship has given me the self-assurance I need to pursue my goals of facilitating the change of K–12 educational institutions based on love and strength.

This fellowship has allowed me to rest, as I've indicated in prior reflections. I now realize that getting enough rest is necessary for me to perform at my best. I've started to say no since I can't give my best effort if I say yes to everything. It has undoubtedly been challenging at times for me as a recovering people pleaser, but I know I have saved my energy so I can stick around for the long run. When I am exhausted and unable to concentrate, I am no good to anyone. Therefore, as a result of this fellowship, I've gotten better at being picky about the things I do say yes to. There are undoubtedly instances when I overcommit, but I do so voluntarily and not out of a desire to put the needs of others above my own.

I have always believed that when in the hands of caring, change-oriented leaders, power may be used to accomplish wonderful things. I am happy to announce that I am using my position of leadership to make things better. I started my fellowship with the goal of increasing diversity among K–12 principals, starting with myself. I wanted to take on the role of principal, and I have. I've been successful both personally and professionally because I've been able to implement what I've learned as my understanding of leadership has developed. I made history by becoming the first Somali female principal in the state of Minnesota.
As I learn more about myself and develop as a leader, my understanding of my own leadership has changed via the fellowship and will likely continue to do so. Understanding oneself has been a key component of my leadership. I am committed to carving aside time to think, imagine, connect with others, and take steps toward the goals I have set for myself. I no longer wonder if I'm cut out for leadership. As a leader, I'm the best kind there is. As I'm aware that for me, leadership entails loving those I serve.

Because of this fellowship, I no longer think that only some people can be leaders and that being called a follower makes you less significant; instead, I now think that everyone can be a leader if they are committed to learning, improving, and growing.