I think it’s easy to spend your fellowship time and resources on traditional leadership development activities such as classes, trainings and conferences. It can be easy to think and feel that leadership ability and confidence can come with more training and education, but in my humble opinion and through what I am learning with my fellowship, this isn’t the case, nor is there where I’m interested in spending my fellowship time and resources. Strong leadership comes from strong self-awareness and connection to something much greater than yourself. It comes from being bold enough to fail, learn and grow and maintain humility and connection to your values throughout it all. It comes from doing this over and over again and doing so in community and lifting one another up and growing leaders alongside you in the process.
What I have really learned through my own journey is that the most helpful, transformational and impactful work I do as a part of my fellowship is carving out the time, resources and support to reflect on who I am, why I’m leading and how I show up as a leader. Constantly asking myself these questions, observing the answers and continuously reflecting on who I am and who I want to be as a leader has given me so much insight and has allowed me to grow.
I’ve also found so much value in growing my personal and professional relationships with people who are humble, self-aware and that lead from a place of deep love and commitment for community. I’ve been spending time to strengthen my mentorship relationships and social support next works to help ensure that I have excellent and smart people around me who I can trust and who have strong ethic, values, integrity and leadership. These people have become my peers and friends in leadership, growth and transformation.
I’ve also realized through this process of getting to know myself and my leadership more intimately that the same questions, observations and tension points keep coming up. It allows me to recognize patterns and name what I am feeling and going through and by doing so, I’m able to muster the courage I need to face my fears, try new things, fail and grow in the process. It removes the ambivalence, ambiguity and overwhelm from the equation and offers me no other choice but to take life and my leadership head-on.
Another thing that I’ve already realized through my leadership journey is that while I may learn leadership lessons and grow as a result, if I am not intentional in thinking about and living these lessons over and over again, I can quickly revert to a space of fear, overwhelm and lack of confidence. Knowing this, I’ve been focusing on my skills of learning important lessons, reflecting and documenting these lessons, practicing these lessons and skills and re-reading and practicing the lessons over and over again until they become second nature and my default.
Lastly, I’ve been learning the importance of good old fashioned joy and laughter and the role they play in growing my leadership. I’ve realized that is easy for me to keep my mind and heart stuck in “leadership” mode, even when I don’t need to. Taking time to practice intentionally letting go, carving out time for pure enjoyment and building friendships and family is so invigorating and really fuels me during the times that really call for me to step into fierce leadership. This is one area I continue to grow in and cultivate as a leadership practice.
I’m so grateful for the amazing opportunities and journey the fellowship has offered me so far and I’m excited to keep pushing myself to new limits of growth, leadership and community power.