Monday, February 7, 2011

Reflecting on Traits of Leaders

 This one's simple. Being "Clutch," from what I was able to gather, is what I'd like to be for sure. Clutch is being on your game, being sharp, that person who get's it done in the line of fire, basically a team-work bad-ass. Someone who owns their role in the situation and takes action, and not just any action, but the right actions at the right time, with the team. It's like being a team-player extraordinaire. I'd like to be that. Next.

Really delegating: 
Jennifer expanded on this by offering that delegation is when one "gives people both responsibility and authority." This, I realized, has been a source of much of my struggle as both a leader and team member. Warning: Inner-Jerk Alert. Looking back on my experiences as a leader in college, I never felt comfortable giving responsibilities to others. I wanted things done the way I thought they should be done, and I didn't trust them to do it like I would do it.  It boils down to my challenges around trust.  Also, the projects were always "my babies." If I did all the work, I'd have all the authority, and all the responsibility, and all the glory in the end.  Go Me!  However, as a worker or team-member, I hated working for people like me. What's that tell you?

So, that must have been a real bummer for the people who were trying to work with me though. How cool would it have been if I had been able to give them both responsibility and authority over parts of the project, giving them a reason to feel passionate and engaged, to be invested, to be as in love with the work as I was.  I'm so glad I've had these insights and can catch myself and do things differently now.  Take that Inner-Jerk.

Keeping the human aspect, quirky and real.
Maria got to me with this one. It struck a chord because it really underlined for me the importance of being yourself, and why it matters to much.  I think it matters for the exact reason why it's so hard to do. It's hard to do because its scary to let yourself be seen, especially when you are trying to be a leader, when want to be perceived as cool, capable, powerful, etc.  All those traits we're supposed to be.

I know at times I've found it easier to be a persona than to be a person.  Under the microscope, I'll sometimes feel myself retreat behind an almost imperceptible veil that looks more like what I think other's want me to be, rather than just being who I really am.  It's safer to have a song and dance, to dazzle everyone, or to simply hide. That persona's dance, however entertaining, just isn't mine. No one wants to have a relationship with some else's persona... with their public representative, but that's who we often send to the meeting, the presentation, the date, the house party, on our behalf.  Maybe I shouldn't say "our" but "my," but I have a suspicion that I'm not alone in this.

Inspiring people are courageous enough to let themselves be seen for who they are, the good and the less than good, quirks and all. Willingness to be vulnerable is what it takes to be raw and real for others, and to truly connect with others.  Maybe they own their Inner-Jerk so it won't own them, and so they can just be their true self through and through. That might be a good way to go.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In the Beginning, you were warned: Confessions and Reflections of a Wanna-be-Leader

This is my first blog entry ever. I'm not sure how one starts to "blog" really, but I'm going for it.
A word to the wise, I use some slang and even the occasional emphatic "damn." Hereby, you are warned.

I'm Bee, a student of Public Heath at UC Berkeley who desperately wants to be awesome at this stuff. Why? Because I just can't shake this notion that I  (like everyone else on earth) can do something about the challenges we face in this world and make life better.  My focus is in Health and Social Behavior and I'm specializing in Global Health.  I think this plainly speaks to who I am and what I believe, because I know in my soul that our individual actions and collective actions affect the entire world.  Realistically though, about the hardest thing to to do is to change other people's behavior.  Just look at yourself.  When was the last time you successfully changed a behavior of your own? (This may be particularly salient a month after New Years).  How easy was that to do? To maintain? And that was YOU... YOU who, I could argue, have 100% control over yourself and your own actions. Try doing it with other people over whom you have no power! Anyway... that's for another blog, maybe.

If you simply must know something more about me, I'm from Palmdale, California.  Out of a wild and crazy upbringing, I emerged with a powerful desire to get the heck outta there.  I didn't end up going to far  though. I went to UCLA for college and studied Biology, and stayed in LA for about 9 years doing all sorts of fun things.  I came up to the Bay Area for grad school in August and I honestly do love it up here.  I enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones, playing capoeira, practicing yoga, rocking out on my guitar, singing at the top of my lungs, shaking my groove-thang, and at times, I enjoy attempting to train my impossibly stubborn and out-of-control dog, Kali.  In my spare time, I also do some school work... just kidding.

I am very grateful and excited to have been chosen as one of the Center for Health Leadership Fellows. In more ways than I can count, I have already been so impressed and inspired by the caliber of people with whom I share this honor, and I couldn't be more humbled by all this. 

I can speak only for myself, but I believe all of us have come on board as Fellows to be transformed into someone capable of more than we are already capable of right now, and to become a leader in ways we cannot even predict from where we currently stand.  Personally, I'm thowing myself into this process like a sacrificial lamb on the fire, and I am doing this because I want my life to mean something, and I'm willing do what it takes to be that kind of person. The kind that makes a real and tangible difference in the lives of others in the short time we have on this earth. 

I anticipate facing down some of my more powerful fears and sneaky demons. I intend to boldly face-down and dismantle my inner-jerk.  I also anticipate sharing great triumphs over these fears and demons (and possibly other inner-jerks) with my comrades.  And you, my reader, will have access to as much of this as you like. I'm not going to sugar-coat a damn thing.

This blog will serve as my reflection pool, my confidante, my sounding board, venting chamber, and pressure-release valve.  I'm the kind of person who has a propensity for over-sharing anyway, but within this context, I'm hoping that opening up and being real about all this will help me get through it, and it just might help you get through something you're facing too. 

Now that you know what you're in for, let's get on with this.