Leadership. The title is nice. People shake my hand a little more enthusiastically when I tell them my role as leader. They say things like, “Wow I am so proud that we have Black females in your position” or “You go girl” and a handful of other congratulatory and affirming statements. I appreciate those words. Truly, all of them.

Still leadership honestly sucks sometimes. There are times when I want to sit in the corner of my own organization without the title and do my own thing. There are times when I do not want to think about the hard stuff for hours and then leave still scratching my head without an answer. There are times when I do not want to enter into that meeting that I know is going to be difficult as I struggle to put on my bravest face to cover the heart that minutes before survived a barrage of insults, doubt, and frustrations from close range. There are times that I have thought of quitting. There are times when I wondered if my organization would be better without me leading in certain capacities. And I’ve wondered would I have chosen leadership if I knew the other side of it…

It is during these critical times that I am learning the other side of leadership…how to not just lead people, but how to lead my heart. There’s a proverb that says, “Above all else guard your heart for from it flow the wellsprings of life.” As leaders it is imperative for us to guard our hearts from misinformation about our capabilities, competence, and calling. As a woman of faith, I relentlessly remind myself that I serve the God who is faithful. Every experience had on my trajectory to leadership is one that has shaped my capabilities, built my competence, and etched my calling into the very soul of my work. So when we hit those times on “the other side of leadership” be relentless in guarding your heart. Be relentless in replaying your capabilities, your competence, and your calling so that you can courageously lead in challenges and victories.