Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Be More Dog" - My personal story

If you met me now, you wouldn’t believe what I’m about to tell you about me as a kid. Growing up, I was the shy, quiet kid… I didn’t raise my hand in class, speak up, or call attention to myself. Yes… it’s true. And hard to believe if you know me now, because I’m not that person anymore. 

Recently, Craig Vroom and I got to present “Blogging Bravely for Impact and Community Building” at the NASSP Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida, and the theme for our presentation was “Be More Dog.” 

Be More Dog is also the theme for our Compelled Bloggers Community this week, so I thought I would share with you my story of becoming more dog in my own life.

I still remember a moment from my freshman year of college. I had met and become friends with Chris, a member of the men’s tennis team. We had calculus together, and I remember that he asked another student what he had gotten as an answer to one of the homework problems. I admired his ability to ask the other student the question, because at the time there was no way I would have done that. I wouldn’t have asked a question to someone that I didn’t know... or even admit that I didn’t know how to solve the problem for fear that I was the only one who didn’t know how to solve it. (Thank goodness I know differently now!)

I was then, and still am, a leader by example. I thought that my actions were more important than my words. I didn’t value my voice, and I had a lot of fear about living fully as a strong, independent, bright, friendly, athletic female. I have learned since then that my voice is as important as my actions and an important part of what makes me an authentic leader.

After three years of playing college volleyball, I ended up quitting the team because of an injury that wouldn’t allow me to fully play 100%. Through a series of events, I transferred to another college and played two years of softball. 

Another keystone event in my journey happened the summer when I was transferring to my new college. I told myself that I was going to be more like my sister. She was outspoken and friendly, but didn’t worry about what other people thought of her. People loved her, and she seemed to have such freedom in who she was. I wanted that in my life, too. That summer I made an intentional decision to face and conquer my fears, and since then I haven’t looked back.

My friends are surprised when they learn about my shyness as a kid/teenager, because that’s not who I am now. My daughters always comment that I will talk to anyone, and it’s true. 

Everyone has a story, and I’m interested in them, especially those of leaders. 

It’s usually not a straight and successful pathway into adulthood and leadership positions, and I’m interested in the stumbles, sprints, and sidesteps that make us who we are. I’ve had my share of stumbles, and since I’ve learned to ask for help and reach out, I’ve grown as a person and leader. I enjoy getting to know others and celebrate in their successes, learn from them, and walk this life together. I’m glad I took that risk during that long-ago summer; the reward has been incredible!

What story do you have to share about your journey into adulthood and/or leadership?

1 comment:

  1. Love your post Jennifer, and appreciate learning a little bit about your journey! You share an important lesson in that we have to be intentional in the kind of person we want to be. I used to shy away from any kind of conflict in order to not make anyone uncomfortable, including myself. I know now that professional discourse has to happen but can happen in a way that is respectful of all involved. We are all works in progress. Thank you for sharing!