Coming into college, one known as a “party school”, I was nervous that as someone who is very strong in their faith, I wasn’t going to be able to find my place. However, I was very fired up about going to CMU and I knew that if I felt called to go there, then God was going to provide for me, and boy did he.
I had heard all about this great church at many different college campus’ called His House Christian Fellowship, and I was eager to give it a try. However, with my anxiety and the fact that I knew no one there, it took me a while to work up the courage to go. After going one Sunday and falling in love with the community, the worship, and the message, I knew I had to get more involved. After introducing myself to the connection intern, he excitedly told me that joining what is called a “life group” would be the perfect fit for me. I eagerly signed up because I was excited to meet a group of girls that I could hopefully bond with while growing in my faith even further.
After just a couple of days I got a call from a girl named Alyssa- just from hearing her voice I knew she was going to be one of the sweetest young women at school. She invited me with open arms to join her life group with another leader named Lynlee and a few other girls. Luckily, one of the other girls’ names sounded familiar because she was in the LAS sophomore cohort.
Fast forward 8 months and I do not know where I would be without these girls. They are some of the sweetest, kind-hearted, strong, empowering women I have ever met. Each of them have their own stories and hearing all the different ways that God has worked through them is beyond powerful to hear. I always looked forward to my Wednesday nights because it meant I got to laugh and grow with not only God but with some of the best gals ever!
Because of this group and how much I loved it, I decided to take a leap of faith (literally), and apply to be a life group next year. I have always loved helping lead in a church setting because not only am I helping guide others on a topic I am so passionate about, but I also am growing in my own faith through others’ lives. I truly do not know what I would do without my faith and I hope that I can help others see how much God loves them and wants to have a life with them.
Well folks, after LDR100 we just loved everything we learned that my cohort obviously just HAD to take LDR200. I was very excited going into this class with my cohort because I ended up having to miss a lot of LDR100 due to marching band practices. This class was the perfect chance for me to really learn some basic necessities for leadership as well as get to know more people in my cohort.
This class was tailored for us to learn how to facilitate and to determine what our most ideal form of leading was. Through this discovery, we all were assigned a workshop to present to the class. These consisted of leadership theories that we had to dissect and facilitate, that characterize the many takes and forms on leadership. The theory my group was assigned was called the “Leader-Member Exchange Theory” otherwise known as LMX theory. This theory really focused on how to be a successful leader through building good relationships with their followers so that they will want to be successful and you form a strong team feel. Our theory was a little different because most theories focused on either just the leaders or just the followers whereas ours focused on how they need to be able to work together to be successful. Through this workshop and through listening to everyone else’s workshops, my mind has been opened to so many different leader and follower behaviors and I have learned how to adjust my leadership style when I am working with all different groups.
Another requirement of this class was to facilitate an initiative, which is an activity that engages a group in a fun and interactive way, while also teaching them about the many traits that build a leader. My initiative team had teamwork which is a key component to leadership. To present our initiative we had a few different groups with about 5 students in each group. Each team was given a about 10 sheets of plain copy paper and were given very vague instructions to build a contraption that could hold a very heavy school book. The groups had to work as a team to decide on one idea and then help each other build whatever it was that they came up with. Each group was able to be successful and they said it was because they listened to everyones ideas and then worked together to build the best structure based on everyones input. Being leaders, it is especially important that not one person dominates a group, but rather that everyone’s voices are heard and taken into consideration.
In the end, this class has showed me all sides to leadership and what forms I may need to use in certain situation, where I can better impact and motivate my followers. It has brought me closer to my cohort and has showed me what I am capable as a leader. I was able to work on my public speaking skills and really task my brain on other ways in which i can better my self and others. If you’d like to see my interpretation of leadership, check out my page on my leadership philosophy.
I am so excited to announce that this weekend I will be joining my wonderful LAS cohort on a service project to Detroit on Friday and Saturday! We will working with many non-profit organizations while learning more about Detroit’s history. I will be writing two blog posts on my pre and post thoughts of the trip.
Detroit has gone through quite a ride of ups and downs and I am so humbled to help serve in a city that is very near and dear to my heart. Right now, there are many social issues happening in Detroit. Although I have not experienced them myself, some of the issues that I have heard of are poverty, racism, and crime. Many times when I visit Detroit whether it is with family or friends, one of the most said quotes of the time is “stick nearby” or “buddy up” because many tourists fear the city. Although I have witnessed poverty in the city in person, issues such as crime and racism I have only heard about many times through the media.
Part of the reason my cohort is going on this trip is because of the Leadership Institute’s purpose and vision which states:
PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society.
VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.
It is incredibly important that as leaders we are humble to every society and know how to lead in any situation and culture that we are in. This service learning experience will help us as young leaders learn what it is like to lead in a “complex society” and it will open our eyes to all new experiences while humbling us to how blessed we are. This experience will also push us to further the quality of life in a town that needs more emerging leaders! Although we won’t be able to change the whole city of Detroit, we will be making some sort of difference and that is all that matters.
Finally, I am looking forward to growing as an individual from this experience. I am excited to spend the night in the city and just keep my eyes open to what I am experiencing. After talking to my mentor about this trip, she says “what you put in is what you get out” and I am very ready to put my all in so that I can further grow my knowledge in every aspect that this trip has to offer.
Recently, my cohort was asked to think about whether “leadership comes from saying the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” After first reading the prompt, I honestly didn’t even get what the question was asking, hence why it has taken me a whole week to even write this post.
I let this question sit in my head for days as I tried applying it to my life and to the leadership positions I have been in. How many times have I said no? Has it helped me become a better leader? What about famous people? What famous leaders said “no”?
BOOM. That was when it hit me. Leadership comes from saying “no!”
Many of our nations greatest leaders were the ones who refused to conform to what the world was telling them. One of the greatest leaders who comes to my mind is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks did not let anyone tell her what to do because she was a colored woman thus leading to her title as “the first lady of civil rights”. Her will to say no led her to become an amazing leader of her time.
Sometimes, especially for me, saying no sounds so mean and sometimes I shy out of saying no because I don’t want people to dislike me. And that is what we call a people pleaser. Dr Caren Aviv says “people pleasing is looking externally for affirmation, acceptance, and approval, rather than looking inwards”.I’m over living like that. How am I supposed to grow as a leader when I just conform to what everyone else says. As a leader, it is my job to stick up for what I am passionate about and say no to the things that I do not support. Saying no leads you to push yourself to become stronger and more independent in what you believe in.
So from here, I invite you to look back on your life and how many times you let the word “no” stop you from sticking up for your passions and how many times you let the word “no” empower you and help you grow. Because when you start saying “no” to more things, I promise some serious growth will come out of it.
What’s being a leader without going to many leadership events??
This past Friday I was able to spend a chunk of my day at an event called Spark that the Leadership Institute here at CMU puts on for any student on campus that wants to better their leadership skills. As a part of this event, we took time to really learn about leadership styles and what our leadership styles are. There are 4 leadership styles: direct, spirited, systematic, and considerate. I scored the highest in the considerate leader style, meaning that as a leader I work to accommodate everyone’s needs in the group and help maintain team harmony. Although I scored highly in this style, I can also see a little bit of myself in each of the other categories and that’s whats important. No leadership style is better or more important than another. Each style works together to be successful.
picture by the Leadership Institute staff
After leaving Spark, I am now very eager to work with groups and use the strengths of my style to help lead. I am also looking forward to challenging myself to become better in the other categories as well. One style that I would like to work on is becoming more of a spirited leader as well. I want to be able to provide a spark to groups when their energy seems to be dragging or just be more spontaneous. I know that a lot of my favorite leaders were the ones who were very fired up and that made me more excited as well. I encourage you to find which leadership style best describes you and to read into it more! Everyone is a leader whether or not you think you are.
Holy moly what an amazing(and exhausting) weekend it was! On Friday I boarded a bus with lots of other CMU leaders on it and we eagerly awaited our arrival at Connections Conference 2016. The conference was designed to do exactly what it did- bring leaders together from all around campus and further develop our leadership skills. I could on and on about all the amazing things I learned, how much fun the water park was, and I would love to talk to any one who wants to hear all about what I did, but I’m going to narrow this blog post down to my favorite session.
Gettin’ Dirty: The Dirty Dozen
For those of you who don’t know what “The Dirty Dozen” are, they are the top 12 rationalizations and excuses we use when making unethical decisions. We began this session with a list of scenarios and we had to choose from A-D on how we would respond. Some answers were definitely more ethical than others, but it was important for us to be honest. For example, we were asked if although it is technically illegal to take more than one piece of fruit out of the cafeteria, would we do if we were really hungry? The most common answer: Yes. The right answer: no. So, without further ado, the dirty dozen:
- It’s for your own good
- Everybody does it
- Who am I to judge?
- You’re a bigger one
- It’s not my job
- Nobody is hurt
- It’s too important
- It’s not important
- The end justified the means
- I’m only human
- It’s a stupid rule
- Ethics is a luxury I can’t afford right now
Not only did this session open my eyes to how I make judgements in my everyday life, it also helped me realize how I will make future decisions in my job and especially in my leadership roles.