So this year I decided to challenge myself and stretch the boundaries of my work and the things I believe God has called me to and gifted me with. For many years I have known that I am leader in more ways than one but had my reservations to leading. One of the main hindering factors was the fact that I hate attention and being at the front. It’s true that you can lead without drawing too much attention to yourself but eventually the attention will come. I prefer to walk into a room and do whatever it is I need to do and leave without much notice except the one or two people I needed to interact with.
My close friends and family would always bring up the fact that I am a leader and God has given grace in this area. I have led them in some ways and mobilized them to take on tasks or causes close to my heart. After much thought I decided to grow this gifting instead of killing it further every year. My challenge is still that the introverted me prefers to disappear in the crowd and the more I respond to this challenge the more I realize that I need to be uncomfortable to grow in this area and use it to influence positively.
I am a Mandela Washington fellow, a program under the Young African leaders Initiative (YALI) a President Barack Obama initiative to empower young leaders from Africa in areas of Business & Entrepreneurship, Civic engagement and Public management. Being part of this initiative reinforced what I knew and been hearing about myself – I am a leader. However I figured that I would still get a way and lead quietly. Then there was the opportunity to be on the East African Regional Advisory Board for YALI which I felt a strong nudge from God that this was the kind of platform I needed to grow my skills and start journey of leading more intentionally. With encouragement from a friend I purposed to apply but chickened out on last minute and did not apply. Secretly I was happy when the deadline passed, and I continued with my work. Later I received a message that the deadline was postponed and friend insisted that I apply. I clearly felt God say that the deadline was extended for me, I will spare you the details for now but eventually I did apply and post my ‘manifesto’ on the platform. Thankfully it convinced enough alumni who voted me.
This year, I officially accepted that God is calling me for something bigger than myself for which He has been preparing me for years through various trainings, networks and equipping opportunities. I say yes to the call. So when I had about the Harvest Institute – 1 year leadership program at my church I quickly signed up. The program is hectic considering the other things I am engaged in but I have decided that the time is now to start taking my leadership seriously because after all – Everything rises and falls on leadership according to John C. Maxwell. I know this will help me build a world class organization in Kagera Safaris even as I pursue my dreams of starting transformational education centers all over Africa, Asia, south America, North America and Eastern Europe.
This is the most hectic program I have been part of but I am willing to go all the way, after all growth is painful. We are required to grow our writing skills by writing a minimum of 2 blogs per month, read 2 books a month and write synopsis, publish a book before end of year, start a business/non profit or run for office, streamline the life purpose, join a team and serve on a church team etc. I already feel stretched but hey, this is what I signed up for. Yes to growth, will keep on and in time take others through these for their own growth.
Hurrah to leading in 2017 and beyond!