Today’s guest blog comes from Monique Moreno, one of our current interns from St. Edward’s University. She is writing a five week blog series that will cover her leadership journey as she attempts to survive in this 21st century technological jungle. She is fond of coupons, the color orange, and writing about herself in the third person. After graduation in May 2014, she wants to move to a big city to work in communications and, most importantly, finally own a dog.
All my adolescent life, I had been the Quiet Girl. I didn’t speak much in social settings and my shyness inhibited me so much that when I was at restaurants, I ate without silverware that had gone missing, dealt with empty bottles of ketchup, and never asked for refills. At home, I kept my nose buried in Babysitter Club books and even read at the dinner table, to my mother’s dismay. (But seriously, the worst problem she had to deal with was me bringing books to the table…? Most kids you had to bribe to read. Am I right or am I right?)
It didn’t help much that I moved to a new school district right before I started high school. Although I didn’t have to endure eating lunch in the bathroom on my first day of school, I was slow to make friends and get involved. However, one thing that I knew I had always loved was writing and communication, which lead to me being enrolled in journalism class.
Suddenly, I found myself as section editor as I joined the yearbook staff my sophomore year. I soon learned that having a voice is fun. I learned that it’s okay to get out of my comfort zone and explore new things. By the time I had graduated high school, I had been the editor-in-chief of the school yearbook, class historian, vice president of National Honor Society, head of publicity for the theatre department (and became a thespian), and chaired the ladies’ spirit clubs. I had even started a British Club, where members would come together to fangirl over all things British.
I still am the Quiet Girl, to an extent. I still can appreciate running errands alone and find silence comfortable. However, I’ve found that if there’s something cool going on that it can be fun to be a leader and share your voice. Whether this involves you getting involved in a non-profit, taking charge of a group project, or heading a committee, leadership doesn’t have to be daunting and is doable for everyone. Start small, and you’ll find yourself succeeding. And even if you don’t succeed on your first go at leading, try again. You can learn from mistakes, but you can’t learn anything if you don’t try at all.
Being a leader is easy when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. To decide to become a leader in your community can sometimes be selfish (The recognition! The power! The fame!), but to actually be a good leader is selfless because you should be doing it to better something, whether that be the community or your peers and colleagues. You have a talent, use it!
So the next time you think to yourself, “Oh, I’m too shy to do that,” or “I’ll just let someone else do it, even though I know I could do it better,” forget the negativity! Go out there and lead. Dream big, dream small, dream it all and do it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised where your new experiences may lead you.
Oh, and the former restaurant problems? Now I’m THAT girl who asks for sweet tea refills to go at Pluckers!
Check back next Thursday to read more about Monique’s leadership journey!