Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I am Unique

Few days ago, I was asked to fill out a form for something  personal. One of the questions asked was "what would you define the term 'leadership as"

After giving it a thought for a while, Here's what I came up with.
“Leadership is the PRACTICAL ability to differentiate between Pride and Firmness, Cowardice. And Leniency
Service and Servant hood, Loyalty and Sentiment, Personal Interest and Duty, etc

Contrary to the belief of some schools of thought,
Leaders aren't born Leaders. Leaders are made.
That gives us all the chance to be leaders.
I'm a leader to my younger sibling who looks up to me, to my junior colleague who takes a cue from my experiences and to the growing young lady whose fashion sense is formed unconsciously by what she sees me wear”

While proof reading the contents of the form just to make sure it was devoid of error(s), I took a second look at my definition and decided to share with my friends.

Just as I was about to share on a blackberry broadcast, I decided to add a few more words that read thus:
So here's to you, you, you and of course YOU!!
The next time you choose to be proud instead of being firm, Or put personal interest before duty.

Remember…., the actions or inaction of a leader helps form/decide that of the "followers"

This post came with even more accolades than some of my most inspiring articles. However, one stuck. Jon Pol (a friend of mine) responded by saying “you are a deep thinker”. Hmmmmm.........That was not the first time someone would say that to me but every time someone said it, I wondered if it was a blessing or a curse.

I’m sure you would wonder why.

I grew under a traditional Igbo/African cultural setting where it was believed that the female gender neither has the right to advanced education nor the right to think for herself.  She is expected to act as instructed by the male gender and ask no questions.

Here I was recieving accolades from the male folks from whom I should be receiving orders instead. Again it came like a flash thought.. Instead of occupying myself with the thought of getting married to the next available suitor ( that’s what a “NORMAL”/typical igbo woman will be bothered about after graduating from a university – which is often considered a privilege), I was busy thinking deep about the effects of leadership and how it affects the society and perhaps inspiring to be one *smiles*

Today I quit. I quit the negative thoughts.My skills are not a curse. Only the afraid and intimidated will consider it one. I am a blessing to my community, an inspiration to the younger ladies, A hope to the down cast, an oasis in the desert, and a beam of light to the darkness in the heart of the afraid.  
Jon Pol was right afteral. I am not just an African woman. I am one with unique potentials and intelligent quotient. 
I am smart, I’d rather think outside the box than remain in one. I dare to achieve more rather than settle for less. I defy the ways my culture has positioned me to think and act. I dare to be different. Indeed, I am Unique.

Chidinma John-Opara, 

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