Spark-ing Leadership

Every Thursday at 6:00pm- 8:00pm for four weeks, I spent those two hours bettering my leadership skills at a program called Spark Leadership. This program is hosted by the Leadership Institute and various facilitators who dedicate their Thursday nights to students across campus who are looking to get a taste of leadership and meet new people. I am thankful for everything and everyone’s hard work that went into making this program happen. I got to meet a group of strangers whose ages varied from freshmen to fifth year seniors, learn about my leadership style, expand my knowledge on how to better communicate with various personalities, and self reflected to no end.

I can honestly say that Spark was a great experience and that I enjoyed taking my Thursday nights to reconnect myself to my leadership identity while meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise. I think that this program is a really great experience, but I think four days total isn’t enough. What would be awesome was if Spark was every other Thursday for a whole semester, so that you could create an amazing bond within your group, not feel rushed during activities, and have a longer and more open debrief session. This is just a suggestion for the Leadership Institute to look into, however, I understand how this could become elongated or maybe too time consuming for some. Overall, I highly recommend signing up for the Spark Leadership series and dive into discovering yourself as a leader if you haven’t already or just want to continue working on your skills as a leader. Here is a video to spark your interest:

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The Golden Circle

” Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” 

What. How. Why. These are the three key words that make up the golden circle of great leadership. In the Simon Sinek TEDTalk, he begins with a simple three-ringed circle drawn on flip-chart paper. He starts with the outer most layer and labels it ‘what’, then labels the second most inner layer and labels it ‘how’, and then he labels the inner circle with ‘why’.

Sinek’s TEDTalk made a clear point that people usually know what they are doing, some know how they do it, but often people don’t know or state why they do it.  He mapped out this circle to prove a main point: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He uses this tactic to explain how inspirational leadership and genuinely good leadership comes from starting with your ‘why’, because once you start wit your why everything else falls into place.

Simon Sinek also uses examples like Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because all of these people and companies start with their why to become successful. People believe in you as soon as you stand strong for why you’re doing something or why you’re fighting for a cause or why you want change. People don’t listen about what you want, they listen about why you believe it because it shows that it really means something to you. I really love this TEDTalk because I couldn’t have said it better myself. Believe in yourself and your leadership skills, and so will others.

 

Leadership: Is it a Yes or a No?

IMG_1380Growing up as a child I spent most of my time (when not being a dramatic diva) never knowing how to say no, and truthfully I’m still working on that flaw of mine. While I am a very blunt person, I have a very big heart and struggle with saying no or turning away people. I was the awkward elementary student who didn’t know how to say no when the big kids demanded the monkey bars for all of recess. I was the shy girl in middle school who did not know how to say no to the bully or popular girl when they asked for my homework answers. I was the overly involved high schooler who didn’t know how to say no to joining 12 clubs and taking on positions in over half of them. But what I did know was that I needed to put my foot down in certain situations. So maybe I was called a pushover or known as someone who couldn’t say no to a sob story of why someone couldn’t finish their essay, but through never being able to say no I learned how to say yes.

IMG_4593I believe that leadership stems from being told no. I think if I was never told no in my life that I wouldn’t be so determined or accomplished as I am in my life right now. I was told no a lot, but I never knew how to tell others no because I was caught up in their feelings. I was told no when I wanted to be President of the United States in second grade, “The President has to be a boy, so you can’t do that!” I was told no when I said I don’t want kids, “If you ever want to get married you should reconsider that. Guys marry girls to pass their family name on.” I have been told no when I said I am going to become a teacher, “You think you’re going to be able to support a family with that kind of income?” Through my life time of being told no, I learned to be a leader and tell myself yes. Yes I am proud of what I am doing. Yes I am getting an education to better myself and expand my knowledge. Yes I am a female leader. Yes I am a woman that does not want children. Tell me what I cannot do and I will show you that I can. Leadership is a no that turns into an individual challenging themselves to say yes.