My own personal children are growing up…way too fast!! However, I am so happy for them. I cannot wait to watch their lives unfold and make their own destinies come to fruition. My oldest two are just on the brink of adulthood. As we approach a new year, my biggest hope for my girls will be that they use the lessons we’ve learned during our time together as they make huge decisions about their own lives. My girls and I have walked through some pretty challenging times as a family. Through those tough periods, they have seen me, their mother, transform from an insecure doormat to a leader in my life and career. I also hope for my girls to be leaders themselves, and use what we’ve learned to help transform others. I hope and pray they will do what makes them happy in their lives and do it with confidence. I will encourage them to go forth into their independent lives and future careers knowing, with certainty, they can do anything they set their mind to do.
I gained my confidence because I had to; it was literally a means to survival. I had to pretend until it just felt innate. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. Otherwise, we would have just shriveled into just a meaningless existence. We would have just trudged through one situation to the next without finding any significance or meaning in anything that was happening. Finding confidence inside means finding hope and faith. Losing out was not an option! I was not going to let that happen! So, my girls and I traipsed forward overcoming many obstacles along the way. We never looked back, and we made decisions to better ourselves. What did I learn? I learned that there are hidden gifts buried deep down in each of us. Exposure of those gifts often occurs during times of trials and struggles because many times those are the only reserves you have left in which to work. For my girls and me, all other physical resources had been depleted. So, I had to act on faith and the desires from deep within. What gifts did I find when I searched? I listed the gifts below, which are now characteristics and traits I call my own everyday of the week. To be honest though, I do have to say I do not always practice them. I am a work in progress, but I know they are instilled in me. These are the gifts I found, which were given or exposed during my own life hardships that I hope my own girls can also see:
- Empathy for others
- Patience for others in all situations
- Love for mankind (the unconditional kind)
- Encouraging others
- Desire to keep moving forward and help others find their own aspirations
- Hope…Keeping dreams alive!
- Wisdom through experiences
Due to the revelation of the above traits and a newfound confidence, I was able to eventually pursue a leadership role as an assistant principal after going back to school. This is a role that I would have never even desired to have five short years ago. I had no idea I had it in me! Now, I cannot imagine doing anything else. Being an AP has brought so much joy and meaning to my life. These gifts, which I opened one by one during those tough times, are the characteristics that have made my time as a leader fulfilling. Each one of these traits was exposed and sharpened as my we walked through fiery flames. At the time, I had no idea I would use these characteristics in a new career that would bring me so much satisfaction. I have tried to remember each one of these characteristics as I lead, as I believe they are very important in my role as a leader and servant.
Each of the characteristics listed above are what I feel is needed in my role as a leader. They are not the only characteristics but, to me, these are the important ones that I found during my own life adventures. They are the human characteristics that help me transform others as they seek to find who they are. I believe one responsibility of a leader is to help others find who they are. It is also true, in my opinion, that a leader can only help others by being transparent with their own journey (mishaps, wrong turns, revelations, faults, etc.). Your stories and testimonies are powerful in helping others achieve their dreams. I hope my girls see these traits in me and will yearn to use their gifts to lead others…no matter where life takes them.
The characteristic I wish most for my three children is “desire”. Without the fuel from desire, you cannot be motivated to act upon any calling. I hope they will desire to continue to learn, grow, and push themselves throughout their lives. I hope that desire never ends until their time on earth is finished. It is desire that sparks hope and makes dreams come true. For me, my own desire to lead is continuing. I do not think I’ve reached my limit because my desire is to go further. I never want to say I am happy or to settle with where I am in my life. For this reason, I have applied to go back to school to earn my doctorate of education degree. I will start a program this summer (2014). I am excited, and I hope my girls will be, too!
I hope my children never feel so satisfied or so content that they lose that desire to be more. I hope they will go out in this crazy world with the confidence, which I hope I have helped to give them, and make it a better place. In 2014, my wish is for my PLN, my staff at WWE, and my girls is to find their deepest desires and then long to find ways to turn those desires into realities. In 2014, be fruitful and keep moving forward! Look deep inside for the gifts you own, and then use them to help transform who you are into who you are supposed to be. Never settle for anything less!