We all want to lead. Whether it is representing your FFA chapter as an officer or serving as the varsity football captain, most of us have once felt the desire to lead a group of others in a club, organization, or on a sports team. But how? I often found myself in high school asking that same exact question: how do I lead? How do I make an impact? How can I make a difference when I’m not like “them”?
Who are “they”? “They” refer to the countless leaders I, and you, look up to. Those who are inspirational, accountable, positive, and committed to their role in serving others. If you are anything like me, you spend countless hours pushing yourself to transform into being a leader like “them”. You search what defines a leader and brainstorm ways to better exemplify those characteristics that define the best leaders…or to become the leader Google tells you to be.
As I was preparing to run for State Office, I began to compare myself to past State Officers and other candidates. At times, I beat myself up thinking that I was not good enough and would never fit the ‘mold’ of a State Officer. As I continued through the process I learned that the only way to truly lead is to just be…YOU. We all want to be the best leader we can be, but if try to deter ourselves from who we truly are, how will we ever be able to serve in our fullest potential? Leaders don’t fit molds; instead, true leaders inspire others through sharing their true selves with their followers and being vulnerable to showcasing both their strengths and weaknesses.
What makes you YOU? What gives you the unique differences needed to reach your full potential as a leader? Once we identify what drives us to serve others, we will begin making an impact that is second to none. For me, I wanted to show others that you can reach any goal you wish if you put your mind to it, no matter what challenges or obstacles you may endure. Whether that is my two sisters back at home or the nearly 12,000 Indiana FFA members, I strive to push others to be the best they can be each and every day.
As we near the end of the school year and your mind transitions to running for office or obtaining a position for next year, challenge yourself to take the road less traveled on and just be you. Showcase what makes you unique as an individual and break through the stigma of what makes the best leader. If you allow yourself to truly be you, YOU will be the perfect leader who will make a lasting impact.
Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Secretary