Participating in the ISBLI 2020 course has deepened and widened my understanding of myself and how to grow into the leader I aspire to become.
I grew up with many privileges owing to my father’s job in the esteemed Pakistani military, but was limited on how high I could reach as I was a woman, despite my analytical and communication abilities and a desire to be a change-maker and truth-teller in some way. When I got married and moved to the US, I found multiple new identities – I was not only an immigrant and a member of a minority, but even my religious identity shifted from being a simple Muslim-by-faith-and-circumstance to an American Muslim. Alongside graduate studies that shed a bright light on social structures in the U.S., a thirst to understand my new community more drew me into the political activities and concerns of my fellow American Muslims. However, even after years of living in the U.S., I hesitated to voice my opinions publicly due to my status as an immigrant – a part of me felt that I hadn’t yet earned the right to demand much from the country since I was still a newcomer.
In 2016, I became a citizen of the U.S. and found the confidence I needed to own the new leadership roles I wanted to adopt. Participating in the ISBLI 2020 course has deepened and widened my understanding of myself and how to grow into the leader I aspire to become. It has reminded me of the ways my faith strengthens my resolve and supports it when it wavers. The course has enabled me to strategize how I present myself so that I can better attract the opportunities that bring me closer to my goals. Most importantly, by showing me my strengths, the course has brought into relief my shortcomings, and the tools to work to overcome them.
I will continue to build on the strong foundational tools given to me by ISBLI to refine myself, my leadership style, and my goals of service. I strongly believe that the insights into leaders, decision-making, and the workings of the inner self that I got through the ISBLI will make me a more effective leader at work, as a volunteer, and at home with my family. Through ISBLI I have become more self-aware and intentional, able to anticipate challenges, and focus on the synergies of my team. This will help me be a more valuable member of society who is able to influence real change and positivity into the lives and circumstances of multitudes. I may be able to unlock the true essence of service as enshrined in Islam, and be many steps closer to self-actualization.