Things I Learned about Being a Leader

Hello from our last night in the Philippines! We’re catching our flight from MNL>ICN>LAX in about 13 hours. The last 2 days here have just been spent at my Lola’s home, packing, spending time with family and friends, and mentally preparing to go home. It’s a bit of a somber day for most of us, not just because Charlie and I will be returning home and leaving our family here, but because from thousands of miles away we all witnessed the inauguration.

I fell a bit silent on social media today, not really reading any of my feeds on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I am just done seeing all the anger and hate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that those feelings aren’t rushing through my body. But regardless of how I felt today, Donald Trump was sworn in and became the 45th President of the United States. He is now the “Leader of the Free World.” It makes me sad for the nation and worried about the future. As I was watching the inauguration and him speak I realized the main thing that crossed my mind was, “This man is supposed to be our leader. He is supposed to represent me and the rest of the American people and he doesn’t even if he’s a business man.” Donald Trump and I actually have a few things in common. Let me explain.

I have been a small business owner since 2005, owning multiple businesses that spans about 12 years of entrepreneurship. One of those businesses is Real Estate. During my time (damn that phrase makes me feel old), Donald Trump was best known as a businessman, a real estate man. I knew about his real estate endeavors, then watched him on the Apprentice, and read about him or saw him on the news. Everyone knew who Donald Trump was, that included me. In all my years (so far) as an entrepreneur and my few years as a Real Estate Agent I don’t respect his business practices or ethics.

Then somehow he gets this crazy idea to run for president. I watched bits and pieces of his campaign as he plowed his way through the Replublican party and somehow became their primary nominee. I watched and listened as he made racist, sexist, and prejudice remarks, But not to his dismay, instead to his victory. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this man had gotten that far in the first place. But the thing that confused me the most is answered in a simple rhetorical question, “This is the best we got?” There is nothing he has done during his campaign to make me earn his respect.

I do not, nor have I ever respected him. Not as a businessman, and not as a president.

Why do you ask?

Before I was a business woman, I had the opportunity to be a leader. I was always the take-matters-into-your-own-hands kind of girl. In high school I started my own dance club because there was none. In college me, Charlie, and 5 other friends started another one – VENT Dance Team. It was on VENT that I really learned how to be a leader. I had the honor and privilege to help shape the lives of  maybe 100 people. I had to wrangle in anywhere between 15-35 young adults at least 3 times a week, sometimes 7 days a week. The things I learned during my time on that team shaped the entrepreneur, leader, mentor, woman, and boss I am today.

I learned:

  1. You don’t need to do it alone, surround yourself with people that lift people up not put people down.
  2. To listen to other people – another person’s perspective is extremely valuable.
  3. Selflessness is the cornerstone of a good leader – you have to prioritize others before yourself a lot of the time.
  4.  It’s better to act on objective facts than on emotion.
  5. Being a leader means you always think about/want what is best for everyone, not just for 1.
  6. To earn respect, not expect it.

In my opinion, The President doesn’t have any of those qualities. Not one.

Those of you that are lucky enough to be in a position of leadership – don’t take it for granted. It is a privilege to lead a group of people, not a right. Being a leader, mentor, and entrepreneur is something I am extremely passionate about, it’s my life’s work. It’s what I am put on this Earth to do.



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