I recently realized that if I count my role as the vice president of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) of Pacoima, I have been in leadership roles for almost 40 years! OMG! Am I that doggone old? Evidently.

So what do I have to show for all of these years of experience?

Well, for one thing I have learned that being in charge is glamorous but being a leader is hard; es muy dificil.

Over the years I have seen a lot of people clamor to be in charge of a team or a work group only to discover, if the team or work group is lucky, that being in leadership is different than being in charge.

If the team or work group is unlucky, the person never learns the difference between the two and they suffer the consequences.

I can tell you that I was excited to be in charge as the vice president of MYF Pacoima. Then I realized being a leader was altogether different and my excitement disappeared faster than my money during a Christmas season shopping spree.

So what is the difference between the two? Being in charge is about me; being a leader is about others.

When I’m in charge, I get the credit; when I am the leader others get the credit.

When I’m in charge, others take the blame; when I am the leader I take the blame.

When I’m in charge, I fulfill my heart’s desire; when I am the leader my heart’s desire is that others are fulfilled.

When I’m in charge, I am front and center; when I am the leader I celebrate others.

When I’m in charge, I get to tell others what to do; when I am the leader I get input from others about what I should do.

When I’m in charge, I am always right; when I am a leader others may not always be right but they are never wrong.

When I’m in charge, I never make a mistake; when I am a leader, I fess up when I mess up.

When I’m in charge, I expect others to be loyal to me; when I am a leader I esteem others more highly than I esteem myself.

Being in charge may be glamorous, but wouldn’t we rather be in a leader?