Tag Archives: Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

28 May

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

I was devastated to hear the news of Maya Angelou’s passing, this morning. Angelou’s words resonated not only within me, but around the world and across generations. The prolific author, poet and civil rights activist managed to string words together in such a way that one couldn’t help but be both intrigued and inspired.

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Angelou’s highly acclaimed poetry truly inspired me in high school and throughout university, as both a student of literature, and as a woman striving to be intelligent, courageous, and loving. Angelou’s words spoke to me in such a way that no other did.

I thank Maya Angelou for being brave enough to bare her soul through written word.

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May you rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Your words will live on!

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Lead the Way, Oh Mighty Leader

28 Sep

I’m always buzzing around on social media websites and when I came across the above image I saved it to my phone immediately because the message reached out to me. This quote truly captures my definition of what makes a strong leader.

“Leadership is about the decisions you make, and the actions that you take each day. The world is waiting. Leadership is a choice- and it starts with you.” The quote comes from Alyse Nelson’s book, Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change around the World.

There is a lot to be said about an individual who is a born leader; someone who is inherently inclined to be proactive and to pave a path for others. There is possibly even more to be said about an an individual who was not always destined to lead others, but who learns the necessary behaviours and characteristics that are required to become someone who can direct and guide others.

In my life I have had several role models who have proven to be excellent leaders; my parents, teachers, and public figures.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I went on a journey to find discover and develop my identity as a leader. There were several factors that prevented me from fully acting on this feeling that I had, that I wanted to make a difference for myself and others. It was initially difficult for me to lead my peers, when I did not feel completely accepted by them. Towards the end of elementary school, I knew it was my time to shine and while I was struggling with personal battles, both at school and at home, the only way that I would be able to be resilient through it all was to become the leader I knew I was capable of being.

I think that everyone experiences moments in life when we are meant to be leaders and when we are meant to be followers. I think that it is a matter of recognizing when the right time is for each role; when we must emerge into the role of a leader or allow others to guide us.

The sign of powerful and positive leaders is their path and the lives that they have touched. Alyse Nelson writes that “True leaders…have heart and noble purpose. They draw strength from within to effect change in the wide world.” It is so important for leaders to have a vision that they are willing to share with others. These visions are the driving force of a larger plan at work.

A powerful lesson that I learned in Teacher’s College, that resonates both in the classroom and beyond, is that one must work with the end in mind. In order to attain our goals, we must create a vision of what we want to achieve and plan out the steps necessary to reach these goals. In my opinion, no powerful leaders have accomplished great feats by “winging it”, and if they have, they defy the odds.

I think that a leader is an extremely brave individual, who is willing to take risks and make decisions that others are not necessarily comfortable making. This, of course, comes with consequences but a great leader knows how to recover and how to respond to failure. I italicized the word failure because I believe that there is no growth without mistakes.

A leader is not limited to being defined the actions he or she takes to guide others, but beyond that a leader should be recognized for his or her ability to take responsibility, to make decisions that affect the greater good, to foresee obstacles and be proactive, to accept consequences and turn them into a positive learning experience, and most importantly, to be true to oneself.

I’ll leave you all with my favourite Maya Angelou quote, “if we know better, we do better” and I think that this is what makes a good leader.

Lead on my friends,

Merzybean.