“…unless you’re not a leader, or you don’t want to be one. And that’s fine Uché. We can’t all lead. But if you’re going to be a leader, then…”
-Tico, sometime in 2010
I can’t remember what the conversation was about. All I remember is, it was really late at night, probably between 1-3am, and I was engaged in yet another one of the frequent conversations/debates/discourses I had with someone who was a friend/roommate/brother. I remember being upset he put it that way, because I knew he was right. And he knew I wanted to be a leader. He knew I saw myself as a leader (in the making). Putting it that way was basically saying “leadership is a choice, and if you’re gonna make that choice you have to abide by certain rules.”
Sacrifice… Servant leadership… Humility…
Everything in me rebels against those. I think all humans are like that. We’re more in love with the idea of something than the actual thing. Sacrifice sounds good and noble, but the reality is annoying. As is the reality of service, especially when it isn’t convenient. Plus if you’ve ever been in a position of authority over someone (and you both knew it), humility isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world.
It feels like it slowly dawns on you, and you realize that you’re responsible for a bunch of people. Slowly, then suddenly. it hits you. All of these people look to me for something. If something were to happen to me today, if I were to screw up today, there are people that would be seriously affected. Suddenly, my decisions don’t just affect me anymore. There’s all these people that stand to lose, or gain depending on the choices I make. Good people. Innocent people. And I could really screw their lives up if I don’t do right. And that’s a scary thought for anyone to have.
I don’t even like being held accountable to anyone over my own actions. But with leadership comes the realization that someday, some way, you’re going to be help accountable for the people placed in your care. Whether it be to one man, to a committee, or scarier still, to God if you believe in him. Not only do your actions affect those placed under you, but their actions are a reflection of you. You will answer a lot of questions about the things they do.
Inevitably, thinking about these things will cause some doubts to creep up.
Am I ready?
Am I sure I want this?
Can I handle this?
What if I’m wrong? I can’t just quit. There are lives dependent on this.
You know what the kicker is? The realization that you cannot complain. That like it or not, much has been given to you, and so much is expected of you. Like. It. Or. Not. The understanding that you can’t run away when things get too difficult, or bury your head in the sand when there’s a storm (I think I butchered that analogy). There are people looking to you at any given time, and so you have to put yourself second.
sometimes for people you don’t even like that much…
My cousin once said something to me I also will never forget. Again, I can’t remember exactly why we were having that conversation, I just remember it was at about 9-11pm, and I was in his “office” at school. He said
It’s like a man with a farm, and he wants someone to clear the land, and make it ready to be planted upon. Now the work is challenging, but the reward is good. The owner has someone in mind to do the job. But someone else, desires to do it, and that person goes ahead to work on the farm. Now while that person may have good intentions initially, he might not do as good a job as the person the owner had in mind. What’s worse, he may end up doing some irreversible damage, rendering that farm useless for that season. So before you work on something, you have to make sure you’re the right man for the job. You have to make sure you have the right tools for the job.
– Charles, sometime in 2008 (paraphrased of course. duh)
There’s a lot of vague, sometimes metaphorical rambling in there. Forgive me. I’m still working on this whole “get your point across effectively, but don’t reveal the specifics of why you’re writing about this right now” thing.
I will say this though: This has been something I have struggled with of late. Up until I wrote this, I was on the cusp of making that decision. Hesitant. Often unwilling. I had started to learn about what I call true leadership and it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. And so I wrestled with it. But that’s all over now
Not everyone is called to lead. I have made peace with that. And you can’t start, then decide to quit because it’s “too much.” I have also made peace with that. So I consider my calling an honor. I realize quality leaders are trained, not born. And I just want to learn. To grow. To serve.
(No, I’m not running for any political office. I don’t think that’s ever happening lol)
I’m being vague again, I know. Sorry…