My name is Jonathon Carrington and I am on an assignment to motivate true leaders to create positive change in their communities.
Here’s my story (in a nutshell)…
From a very young age, I knew that there was something special about me. I knew that I was different from my siblings and family members because of my personality, my attitude, my temperament, and how I presented myself to people. Even in school, I was always set apart from the crowd to be a role model, an example, a light for someone’s life, even at such a young age. I knew that there was a gift that lived inside of my heart to help people. The separation created somewhat of a sense of loneliness, being around all different types of people with a need to be needed, a need to be respected, and a frequent need for wisdom and counsel. From elementary school to college to professional life, I never really understood that gift until that day in my mid-20′s where I was challenged to lead by myself in a professional role.
With more leadership responsibility than ever before, I could not shake the painful feeling of being needed and loneliness. I became surrounded by more people, young and old, family and friends, needing me to do something for them. My circle of friends who wanted to just be with me without a need for what I can offer was starting to shrivel up. The higher I started to move up professionally, the feeling of loneliness and isolation started to increase. I knew that in order to save myself that I had to take a different course in my career and life.
As I started to mature, realize the power of my gifts, and the people who were in my life, I recognized that there needed to be a drastic change. I needed more people who were encouragers and challengers in my life. I had to seek out encouraging people who were kind, affirming words that refreshes and keeps me motivated. And challengers, people who always make me think ahead, work harder, and push me to grow into all that I can be as a gifted leader. I also realized that I needed to be in good company with safe friends and family who did not just need me because I naturally lead.
Everyday I learn how to create boundaries and expectations with friends and family. Leading naturally I always put myself into the position of taking charge and making plans. Recently, I realized that when things in my life started to get busy with leading people, I started to avoid people in my life who needed me, like family, because of the pressure to step in and take the lead. Rather than feeling relaxed and comfortable with people who know me the best, I started to feel anxious with feeling responsible. In an effort to run away from those feelings, I felt isolated once again, perpetuating those same feelings of loneliness.
One belief that I am learning to internalize is that one of the greatest gifts we give those we lead is a healthy version of ourselves. We are all created to live in community with each other. In order to create healthier communities, we need leaders to mobilize people towards positive change. Working in nonprofit for over 7 years, I have learned that sustainable nonprofits with strong leaders result in sustainable communities. If it was not for the great leaders who have taught and mentored me to trust and cope with my feelings while operating in a position of leadership, I would not be in a position to help. However, since some great people helped me, I want to help others the same way. This is my story of how I began my professional life in the nonprofit field and I have been committed to helping myself by helping others ever since.