Leadership means raising your hand and volunteering for the tough, most important assignments.
It may surprise quite a few to realize that the most pivotal moment of my life occurred just within a span of three hundred seconds. Ever since I was merely in my early youth, I can always recall a tenacious desire to help other people. I felt a calling to impact other’s lives, even if that meant sacrificing some of my own time to do so.
To my understandably tremendous surprise, I was appointed to serve as Editor-in-Chief of my school’s newsletter last year. Taking the responsibility seriously and with respect, I knew that as soon as I swore to fulfill the tasks of club Chairman, there would have to be an enormous amount of work to be done.
Fast forward nine months, and I was presiding over my final meeting. I had asked our faculty advisor if I could allocate a sufficient part of our agenda to discussing the milestones we had reached during the school year.
“As long as it doesn’t exceed five minutes,” said the Newspaper Moderator.
The meeting carried on routinely. Everyone was present, and we concluded our opening ceremonies and remarks with great ease.
In my address, I invoked the memories that we made that school year. Of many, I was certain to include the most noteworthy milestones, establishing the first award recognizing the extraordinary efforts of teachers, and releasing six unique and carefully curated issues that led to student journalism being seen in an entirely new dimension. Above all else, I thought it was especially rewarding to be a friend to colleagues on the board who needed one. I was able to fulfill that urge to help people, and simultaneously watch them grow in writing and in leadership.
I can remember little of what I said, but more of how I felt, and what I learned. Often times, we do not grasp lessons instantaneously. Rather, an accumulation of feelings and experiences, combined with a time to reflect, like this one, could offer you invaluable tips on ways to carry yourself in the future.
I, for one, know that using those three hundred seconds to reflect on what I have learned, were enough to shape me into the writer, the scholar and the leader I am today.
Leadership is not a question, it’s a calling. It is a unique way of sharing your innate talents. Many can command, though little can lead. This is because leadership is about having the confidence to accept any outcome, and take responsibility for the triumphs, tribulations, celebrations and trials. I learned, personally, that effective leadership is not about enforcing compromise, but molding and enriching consensus.
Leadership is not about the power mongering, the attention, the title, or not even the thrill. Leadership is about making a difference in other people’s lives. It’s about having a passion for helping other people, and making a difference that can benefit wholly. Today, I call on each and every one of you to be that beacon of change in your school, in your community and in the world.