Last time I wrote, I was still in Brazil experiencing the Olympics and acting like a semi-important person (after all, that’s how people made me feel when they found out where I was!) These days, my life isn’t quite as adventurous. However, I’m busy as ever. Between classes, my internship and student organizations, I sometimes wonder if I have time to breathe, though my Netflix account begs to differ (it says I have too much free time).
One aspect of my life that has kept me the busiest is my position as chapter president of my sorority, Sigma Kappa. For the past year, I have been serving as the 2016 president of the Gamma Eta chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority. Just a few short days ago, I passed down the gavel and installed my successor into her new role as 2017 chapter president. Though I am eternally sad to see this position come to an end, I can’t help but be so incredibly thankful for this opportunity my sisters gave me to become their fearless leader this year.
So, as my time as president comes to an end, I thought I’d share with you all the 14 things I learned this year:
1 – The ability to problem solve is one of the best skills that you can have
Whether you believe you are a good problem-solver or not, this is undoubtedly one of the best skills we can possess as humans, regardless of our intended future careers or family lives. We come into problems and conflicts on almost a daily basis. Learning how to make decisions (and sometimes very quickly) as well as finding solutions to problems is one of the best things my presidency has given me. I know this will be a skill I will carry into my future, regardless of what I choose to do.
2 – If being a leader was easy, then everyone would do it
Though I’m not sure who said this quote, it is something that has really resonated with me. It is also something that I’ve said to myself (almost daily) since taking over the presidency last January. I’ve faced difficult decisions, animosity and sometimes backlash. However, whenever I hear this quote I am instantly put at ease. Being a leader isn’t easy, but it is well-worth it. You can’t make everyone like you or your decisions, but if you lead in an ethical and determined manner, then you can make changes that many will appreciate.
3 – Making the “right” choices is rarely easy
Building off my last point, doing the right thing is hardly ever “easy”. This is a skill that I believe also sets leaders apart from others. It’s never easy, nor is it fun, to make that difficult decision and become the “bad guy”. However, I’ve learned how to be able to make these choices even when they seem impossible to make.
4 – Learning to delegate is one of the best things you can do for yourself
This is something that has always been hard for me, whether that be in a job, student organization or even a group project. I like to have control over the situation and always take things upon myself, knowing full well that I can get the job done and get it done right. However, this isn’t always healthy, nor is it fair to other people you may be working with. This year has pushed me outside of my comfort zone to learn how to delegate and trust others to handle the situation.
5 – Confidence is key
My involvement as president has also pushed me to become a more confident individual. I think that whenever you are in a position of leadership you are forced to inherently become more confident. After all, if you aren’t confident in yourself, your abilities and your actions, why would anyone else be?
6 – Never settle for complacency
I think one of the greatest things a leader and a person can do is to always strive to become better. When I think back on my year, pushing forward and always finding ways to improve is something that I definitely think I have excelled in as president. However, it’s something that’s been a long time in coming. This experience has taught me that I should never settle for “good enough”, whether that be professionally or personally.
7 – Most things come to an end, so help to build strong successors and leaders
Unfortunately, most things in life come to an end. Rarely does one person ever hold the same position/title forever. So, it is extremely important that, as individuals, we find ways to cultivate leaders and build up those who will one day take over for us. I think this is a very difficult concept to grasp for many, as sometimes, we’re more focused on control and power than the good of the future. Nevertheless, I believe in this past year, I’ve learned how important it is to instill confidence and necessary skills in those who will one day take over the future. While being a mentee is wonderful, serving as a mentor is an undeniably important skill to possess.
8 – Work hard, celebrate your accomplishments and never give up!
Lastly, one of the most important things we can do as leaders and individuals, I believe, is to work hard and never give up, and at the end, take time to celebrate our accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in the work that we do. After all, accomplishments are what make hard work well worth it.