MEET ROSEWITHA G. SHELTON
New View with Rosewitha G. Shelton
TDR: What issues are you most passionate about in your community?
Rose: Children exhibiting a global mindset through global experiences and young women self-defining.
TDR: What are most of your philanthropy efforts typically directed towards serving?
Rose: Young adults and children that desire to travel with their schools, church organizations or enrichment programs. When I was in high school my father gave up his job as an engineer and went back to school to become a Lutheran Pastor. The youth programs within the Lutheran Organization were so enriching that it changed my life and perspective of the world. The travel opportunities my father connected me to and the networking that occurred at such a young age created a belief in me that I could go anywhere in the world and somehow succeed and be divinely connected to who I needed to connect with. I believed that I could go anywhere in the world and never be lonely or alone. The diversity of the people I met and the places I traveled made me feel unlimited in my reach into the world. I felt that I could go as far as the people I knew and the streets they walked. When I joined the military, it further supported this belief. I desire this freedom of mind and experience for every child to help them discover who they are and who they desire to be without the limitations of the community and locality in which they live to define and marginalize their dreams and abilities.
TDR: How do you define leadership?
Rose: Being willing to take the chances necessary to bring about the vision held within you. One who is willing to live and die as the example for a vision beyond one’s self. Brave enough to try and fail and try again because they understand the importance of their efforts and the dream within and tune out the naysayers. Paving ways unpaved, exploring roads untraveled and then giving a detailed map with the pitfalls, curved roads and short cuts around mountains to the next one willing to travel the same or similar route of uniqueness. One not afraid or ashamed of their weaknesses or failings because they understand the power lies in their ups and downs. One willing to dare to drive ahead when all around them is crumbling and telling them they are not perfect enough. They understand the imperfections are what makes them perfectly more than enough. A leader is not a superhero, they just know how to play one when it's necessary.
TDR: How do you define your leadership style?
Rose: Always evolving, yet consistent in practicality. I am a big picture person. As a leader, I see myself as the holder of the vision, but not a micromanager of the manifestation. I lead because I see, not because I always know. That is why I also listen so I can learn and the dream can expand beyond the walls of my own imagination if necessary.
TDR: What would be the most painful lesson that you've learned in life that has helped you become who you are today?
Rose: You can’t make or help anyone be anything they don't want to be. You can’t help anyone reach levels of success they have first not seen or desired for themselves. No matter what potential you see in a person, if they can’t or do not make the effort to walk out their potential or buy into the vision of their own life, they can’t do it for you either. Everyone has potential, but do they have the drive and will? Are they flexible and stretchable? Can their mind be changed? What evidence shows this to be true? When you are a leader you have to think about the entire team, not just one or a few, because though one monkey may not stop the show, they sure can mess it up for everyone else. And as a leader, I will always be left holding the bag. I have learned to let go of things, people or ideas that drain progress so that the train can move down the road to its destination. Destiny, never allows ticketless passengers anyway, so no need to keep anyone on the train that does not buy into the vision (my vision). I only want those willing to push the vision forward to come along and then ride upon the vision realized. The vision and purpose is more important than one person, because the vision realized helps many. I accept people for who they are, where they are and what they desire for they and I don't judge it. We are all in transition and where we need to be right now. I just no longer try to put square pegs in round holes or round pegs in square ones. I further realized that at some point of this push to get people to change I must think I know better and am putting myself in the place of their god. Loving and accepting people where they are and for who they are is the best gift I can give them and myself. I only sow seeds and offer choice and opportunity, the rest is in the hand of the person. They are their own creator.
TDR: What would people be surprised to know that you had to overcome?
Rose: Several miscarriages, 3 ectopic pregnancies, a son still born and a daughter who died from a rare kidney cancer and in the end, I had two beautiful little girls. Accepting that God is not what or who I believed. I had to overcome my belief system to allow Spirit to show me that I am a co-creator with power to create in my own life.
TDR: Name 3 leaders that you look up to.
Rose: My parents. My father for stepping out and following his path into being a Lutheran pastor which was different and unique in our family. I appreciate him weathering the storms that came with being unique. I remember the pushback he received when offering his diverse and large visions of God and community, while exposing me to the unlimited possibilities of life and my reach into the world community of all peoples. The global mindset was priceless. My mother for standing as a strong tower beside her husband who she respects as a spiritual leader as well as her man while also creating her own path of success. The complexity of operating in that balance is unique and takes a special person who knows herself and her spouse and he, in turn, respects her greatness. I watched my mother and grandmother lead from the sideline in a quiet confidence (okay, my grandmother was not as quiet). When you have the ear of the leader and the heart of the leader, you are always in a position of power and control. To not manipulate or abuse that power is due to understanding the larger picture and the role you play because that leader lives or dies with your ability to operate fully in your capacity of love and upholder of his vision as well as your own. They as a unit I admire because they find a way to love and see God in all things and people despite being hurt by the same individuals they sacrifice to help because they understand the larger picture and the importance of those they are still responsible for under their leadership.
Michelle Obama is another one I see who does this quite effortlessly. She maintains her composure and holds her tongue despite what the media and world throws at her. She understands and operates within the bigger picture as well. She has the heart, mind and ear of the leader as well as her own path that she carves out as an example for her own girls which vibrates into the world. I believe that if you can lead and serve another leader at the same time, you understand your purpose and destiny is connected to a larger vision and you must have a stronger will and sensibility than most. You understand the importance of the larger vision and how it must be protected and cared for so that the vision you have for yourself and those around you and the vision those around you have for themselves and others can be realized. That is a leader worth respecting and following.
Finally, I know people say Oprah all the time, but for me I admire her for being courageous enough to speak her truth and allow her evolution of mind and spirit to be at the forefront of her life so that others may be free to operate in the evolution of their own. I have always thought and believed differently from the religious standards and ideals around me, but no one that looked like me spoke anything contrary other than my grandmother. However, that was in secret behind closed doors. Watching Ms. Oprah embrace diversity of culture and religion and take the blows from her own people with her head up gave me courage that I too could accept the dissention because my beliefs were that important. I did not worry any longer if I would be the only one that looked like me with my background saying out loud that Christ is a consciousness we forsake to embrace while holding up the title of Christian. I no longer worried about the fact that I believed that Buddhism, Hinduism, Voodoo and Islam are all beautiful religions that I have studied and appreciate the part they play and the truths they hold. I was allowed to be comfortable within myself of this truth because she did, thus allowing another to be free as well. And when they are free, a truth they hold will be released to help and bless another who is waiting on them to speak the word they hold. As Paul wrote, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak”. We lead by example so that others may be free to do the same.
TDR: Name 3 of your favorite books.
Rose: Of course my own! But also, anything written by Neville Goddard, The Tao Te Ching and my favorite book of the Bible - Isaiah. Isaiah speaks to me and sings my song.
TDR: What is your advice for emerging leaders?
Rose: Embrace your message, vison and desires even if you don't understand how or why they are important. Your uniqueness is important to the world. Give it, protect it, nurture it and love it into its fullness. Your light is a light unto another's path. Someone is watching you and God is using your life to speak to them.
TDR: Complete this sentence…5 years ago I was…
Rose: Thinking of making a career change and publishing my first book.
TDR: Complete this sentence…5 years from now I hope to be…
Rose: Be a world renowned author, teacher and motivational speaker.
TDR: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?
Rose: Open. I think I have come to a place in my life where I am open to receive and be directed by Spirit. Allowing life to unfold authentically. This is a scary and tricky practice because we are not conditioned to operate this way, though created to do so. Logic often has to be overcome. However, for elevation it is necessary to walk with your own spirit authentically to know where you end and the rest of the world begins so your light shines and you are not the reflection of what already is.
TDR: What are some of your current initiatives people can help you with?
Rose: I am starting a non-profit to fund young adults in inner cities and rural areas to study abroad. It is important that our society as a whole embraces a global mindset, especially African Americans. Limitation in experience creates limitation in dreams and aspirations. When you know the world is full of unlimited possibilities for yourself, you have less of a chance of allowing your community borders to define your opportunities in life. I also want to document and record my teachings. I want others to be able to get the message easily and understand the messages I have to be applicable to them.
Connect with Rose:
@Rosegshelton (periscope, twitter and facebook)