Year in Review

In the beginning of the year, I was definitely shy and I feel like I missed out on many opportunities because of that. But, starting second semester, I have come out of my shell and have grown as a person, and a leader.

Looking back at the post I made about my new year resolutions in January, I said that I wanted to become less of a hermit and take every opportunity that came my way, and I feel that I have done just that. I still have the need to get more involved, and hold a leadership position on campus, but compared to where I was only a few months ago, I have made definite progress toward my goal.

In that post, I also said that I needed to surround myself with more positive people who could help me become more involved, and just a better person in general. I said that in order to do this, I need to gain the self confidence in order to put myself out there to meet new people. Over this past semester, I really did gain a lot of confidence. I remember the one night in January that I told myself I was going to go downstairs, go into someones room, and start talking, and hopefully become better friends. I was so nervous, but because I jumped out of my comfort zone that night, I made friends that I still have today. I’m so thankful that I made that leap that one night in January because I got what I needed: positive people to help me sucseed. Since then, I have gotten to know a lot more people and jumped out of my comfort zone even further.

In January, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to share in 2015, and to be honest, I’m really still not sure. But, I did say that I wanted to give off positive and welcoming vibes since I knew how good it felt when other people welcomed me. I really have made an effort to always do that, and compliment people or ask how their day is going. I guess a new goal I have though, would be to give my time as much as possible. After going on our LAS service trip to Detroit, I realized just how important it is to volunteer and be a servant leader. I plan to volunteer a lot of my time over the summer at my church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and around my own community.

I stated that my ultimate goal for 2015 was simply to have a positive attitude and become a better me. I feel like I have accomplished that thus far in the year. I believe that having a good attitude and outlook is the most important part of accomplishing anything.

I incorporated my favorite quote in my January post, and it is still relevant today (and will be forever): drseussyouhavebrainsinyourhead

I still use this quote to motivate myself, and I think of it whenever I want to accomplish anything. I am the one in charge of my own life, so I can dictate the outcome.

Seth Godin Reflection

This reflection today is written over a blog of my choosing from Seth Godin’s website. I had never heard of him before, but his blogs are really quite interesting and insightful. The blog I decided to reflect over is titled, “‘Connect to’ vs. ‘Connect’.” This piece was about how it’s easy for companies/people/teachers to ‘connect to’ their clients/friends/students. He says this creates a “vertical connection” which creates a window for communication. Less common/simple is to ‘connect’ clients/friends/students which builds “horizontal relationships, person to person.” “It’s what makes a tribe,” he explains. He says that companies are scared to connect because they don’t want to have less control over what happens when the customers like one another more than they like the company. I was slightly confused at this point, when reading, because I felt that there was a lot to think about regarding the little bit that he wrote. But his last sentence really brought his idea together for me: “Of course, connecting is where the real emotions and change and impact happen.”

This entry reminded me of the Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” by Simon Sinek and my reflection on it. Sinek’s video was all about how if someone has a reason for why they do what they do, and make it known, they are more likely to be successful than someone who doesn’t know why they do something, but rather only know how or what they do. I thought these two pieces were similar because when Godin referred to the organizations who only “connected to,” it reminded me of when Sinek talked about companies who only know what they do and how they do it, but not why they do it. These vertical connections made by ‘connecting to’ are only the ‘what’ and ‘how’ part of the equation. When we dig deep down get to the ‘why’ part, that’s when the personal, horizontal connections start to happen and relationships start to form. Using an example from Sinek’s presentation, he said: “MLK gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.” With that, we could say MLK didn’t ‘connect to’ his audience, but rather he ‘connected’ his audience, creating strong army of people all advocating for the same thing, with the same “why” in mind. Real emotions, change and impact all happened here all because MLK connected his audience because he knew why he was giving his speech that day.

These two post from Godin and Sinek I think really taught me a lot about what great things, and not so great things, can happen depending on how I portray myself and influence others. Godin’s post relates to things on a bit of a bigger scale than just me, but the concept is still applicable. We need to not be afraid to connect other people because, like Godin said, thats when the real emotion, change and impact start to happen. Making connections and building relationships with people is a big part of how we grow as people. Think of all the “horizontal connections” you’re missing out on because you’ve been confined to only making those “vertical connection.”

Ted Talk Reflection

If you have never visited www.ted.com, I strongly urge you to check it out and become inspired. This “Ted Talk” reflection is based off of a video by Simon Sinek. In this video, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” Sinek explains the reason behind why extraordinary people can achieve the unthinkable and the differences between how they versus normal ted talk golden circlepeople think, act and communicate. He came up with what he called “the worlds simplest idea,” the Golden Circle.The Golden Circle Using the circle,he explains that every one on earth knows what they do, most people know how they do it, but very few people know why they do what they do. He explains that the average people or companies start with the clear answers on the outside of the circle to the unclear inside. Great leaders who inspire people, on the other hand, communicate from the inside out. He explains that this is how Apple excels in business compared to another computer company; they don’t just explain what products they have, but rather why they made these products, and this makes the buyer more interested in the product and more willing to buy. He also uses the Wright Brothers as an example. They succeeded in flying the first diffusion-of-innovationsairplane because they were driven by the belief that they could change the world, not by a desire to become wealthy.

Next, he talks about the Law of Diffusion of Innovation (pictured left.) In our population there are innovators, early adaptors, early majority, late majority, and lagers. The first two groups are the ones who are more comfortable going off of their gut feeling. They are the people who do things for themselves, not for others. These are the people who attended MLK’s speech in the middle of August not for MLK, but for themselves.

This presentation really got me thinking. Throughout the video, Sinek kept repeating the phrase, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” He uses a lot of business and commercial examples, but this applies to our daily lives, too. This made me realize that if I don’t know why I’m doing something, I might as well not be doing it. I think everyone should all know their reasons why just so that we know why exactly we need to get through each day. Within my leadership cohort, we all made our own “why” statements regarding how we want to inspire others. Our statements are kind of like a motivation for why we do what we do: lead.

My why statement is Inspire others to always feel extraordinary and important in whatever they choose to do in life.

My “why” statement keeps me on my toes about how I interact with other people and how I might make them feel. I strongly believe that every one should feel important and special for at least one thing in their, and I have made it my goal to make everyone feel that way. Whether it be just saying hi to someone in the hallway, or engaging in deep conversation with a peer, I want to make sure everyone feels a since of belonging. My “why” definitely isn’t the same as Apple’s, or MLK’s, but it has the same concept. I know what I am doing, I know how I am doing it, and now, I have a reason why.