The Root of Leadership

By: Senta Riley

“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.” – Rumi

tree-roots

This past Friday my Idealist Journey (IJ) group and I embarked on a service project at the Honor Garden, one of one hundred and twenty five gardens in the Denver Urban Gardens network. The purpose of IJ is to allow Corps Members to participate in structured reflection that connects with their personal purpose, values, and insights to their service experience. For this project, we paired with another IJ team to tackle the task of cultivating the various plots within the garden, in addition to the garden perimeter. Throughout our project, I found myself using different methods to remove weeds, from ripping them out to digging deep below the soil. As time went on and as I discovered a method that best suited me, it became easier to remove the weeds.

Similar to this garden, my year of service has consisted of several areas needed for cultivation. My primary area of cultivation has been leadership. One does not become a leader overnight; however, through each experience one is able to gauge what works and what doesn’t. As this year has progressed, I have learned a lot about leadership styles and how to implement them. Although I have found the root to being an effective leader, I still have areas to cultivate. As I look into my Leadership After City Year (my plans after serving with City Year), I strive to reflect on my experiences from this past year and utilize what my team, my students, and the corps have taught me about being purposeful in my leadership in hopes that one day, I will remove the root and have a clearer vision of what it means to be a holistic and purposeful leader.

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