After attending Alpha Xi Delta's Founders' Academy, I am able to reflect on the amaXIng weekend I shared with sisters from across the nation. Not only did this experience give me the tools to be a better sister but also a greater leader. Even if you don't affiliate with a Greek organization anyone can appreciate these five lessons.
1. "It takes a whole village."
What I mean by this is that yes there are winners and losers, yes there are the lead roles and the understudies, there are presidents and not presidents. But instead of minimizing the "lesser" roles we must find power in all parts of the machine. The winner won because they had competition and that's worth something. The lead roles can't put on a show by themselves, you need ALL characters on the stage. And the presidents didn't get elected by themselves. Someone had to believe in them. And they aren't there alone. There's a great quote by Isaac Newton that really echoes this: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Yes every single person has power and strength but no one can do it alone.
2. Be more confident!
There is something magical in looking in the eyes of someone Confident. And yes, a capital C. Five ways to be more Confident: stop slouching(!), slow down while you're talking; remember to breathe, smile(!), win the staring contest and get out of your head -- don't overthink things!
3. Surround yourself with people who you think are better than you.
People you want to be. This can also mean recruit potential new members you think are better than you. But in general, in life, we should surround ourselves with people who push us to be better versions of ourselves.
4. Get off your damn phone.
This entire weekend people, including myself, were sitting on their phones during group sessions, breakfast, lunch, dinner, ice cream socials, etc. Get off your phone and look around you. There is a world outside of Pokémon Go, for example.
5. Choose to shine.
As corny as this might sound, this entire weekend was about learning how to optimize our strengths and apply them in real life. So, instead of focusing on the perceived weaknesses we have, or the basements of our strengths, find the balconies, or the positive twist we can turn in these negative outlooks. To clarify, for example, my top strength is "input," which means craving knowledge. Others might look at this as wanting to be a know-it-all but instead look at it as someone who holds valuable information and needs the opportunity to share it with others. Choosing to shine means letting our good parts be the first thing others see about us. And that, my friend, can be applied to any situation.
Hope these five lessons resonate with you and that you remember them in any of life's situations.