This one is for the women (and men) that are the unexpected leaders… a little too late. You see, I am a bubbly and engaged person in my every day life. I am involved with my sorority (somewhat), I am involved with my college education (somewhat), and I am involved with my future (somewhat). I am the person who was meant to be a leader but unfortunately never took the opportunity at the right time. Even right at this very moment, I was about to type the words “I am ready to be a leader now” and then quickly reminded myself that I wouldn’t go through with it. So, what about leadership and taking chances is so scary to people like us? What is the big secret that I somehow missed?
The secret is courage. The secret is confidence. The secret is strength. These three qualities allow a person to achieve what they set out to do in the first place. Few children are gifted with the promise of “I believe in you” from loved ones. For the majority of us that weren’t given that promise immediately, believing in yourself can sometimes be a difficult feat. Saying this, I should of taken many opportunities in the 21 years that I have been alive. But I won’t disregard the opportunities that I actually did take. Let me lay it out for you.
Never Took The Chance
- Initially attending Indiana University or Purdue University
- I had the opportunity to attend either college on full scholarship, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of staying in the same place where I already spent my whole life.
- Attending football/basketball games in both high school and college
- Its not that I wasn’t interested in sports, I just never went. I always found an excuse to stay home. I regret not bleeding red and black for the Bronchos and crimson and cream for the Hoosiers. Did I really need to watch hundreds of hours of Bob’s Burgers (the answer is yes, don’t fight me). Multitasking is key here because you can have a healthy balance of both alone time and social time without missing a beat.
- Not auditioning for show choir sooner in high school
- I didn’t have the courage to show my talents sooner in high school, which resulted in only one amazing year in the organization. This year changed my confidence level for the better, and I can’t imagine what three years in it would have done.
- Not standing up for myself when needed before this year
- I didn’t have the strength or confidence to stand up for myself growing up, when I knew that I was right. Constantly admitting you are wrong may seem humble, but most of the time it just means you are weak. Stand up for yourself always and when you are wrong, admit it and move on.
Took The Chance
- Talking to a tall giant on my first day at school in Tampa
- If I would not have sat next to Julia and murmured a couple words to her at freshman orientation, I would of never found her. She is a diamond in the rough and I think my tiny self knew that when I said hi to her shyly that day. Thanks for never making me regret saying hi and giving me strength for the past 4 years (and probably the rest of my life), Julia.
- Leaving the University of Tampa
- It was an experience full of memories, lifelong friendships, and a multitude of mistakes, but I knew where I had to go. It was time to go home and finish growing up in the place that made me. Indiana University was terrifying at first, but I had the courage to be confident and grow as a person.
- Choosing the sorority that made me unsure
- Sorority recruitment at IU has never been short of a scary experience for any Potential New Member lucky enough to go through it. I will dedicate a post to my sisters closer to the time I graduate (yeah I’m already crying), but just know that they almost were not my sisters. My sorority previously scared me because of the diverse room of women that was laid out in front of me. This shouldn’t scare someone, right? For a girl who wasn’t used to being immersed in a hundred different personalities and cultures, it was a shock. Everywhere else I looked did not have this attribute, so I was nervous. Looking back now, I knew which organization I was going to pick after I talked to a few girls from the chapter. There was no question about it, and the fact that I tried to lie to myself is laugh-worthy. I knew that it scared me, so I chose what is now called my home.
- Chopping my hair to my shoulders (and above)
- As much as I was against short hair growing up, I ended up with the cut that I never thought would make its way onto my head. I used to see short hair as a sign of weakness. I thought that people with short hair either could not grow it as well as I could or they were dumb enough to get rid of their beautiful hair. Wrong. People change as they age and they should adjust their style accordingly. Be brave in your style choices. Rock that haircut, girl.
Moral of the story: stop being scared. Take those chances when you know you should. Take the leadership position you were meant for. Say hi to the cute boy at the bar and say bye to the ignorant one on Tinder (something I am continuously working on).
There is not an event that has to change your life for you to experience before you just do it. No one should have to show you how to live your life, which is obvious due to the amount of Taco Bell you have probably consumed in the past 4 years. “All you can do is try,” my mother used to say. Try and fail. Try and succeed. Try to always be better than the person you were yesterday.
You were meant for more. You know that, and I know that. So, be the leader you were destined to be and include me in your speech when you are elected president.