This I Believe

Natalie - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on November 29, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

If one realizes leadership’s true definition, it has the power to enrich lives and it truly has made a difference in mine. A leader does not look at a situation and single-handedly attempt to swallow it whole. A leader does not command those around her. A dynamic leader uses a magic word that defines the difference between a tyrant and leader: the word “we”. She joins hands with her peers and ventures into the unknown with confidence in her companions that together they can tackle anything that stands in their way. She sprints fearlessly into a storm and allows herself to absorb the benefits of leadership like rain. That is a leader.

Like raindrops that fall from the sky, leadership cannot be effective if one attempts to create change on her own. It requires the power of numerous drops of rain to saturate a landscape and alter its appearance. People often think a good leader acts as a superhero that can handle anything and can never be broken. I have learned that this could not be further from the truth. Leadership is not about being able to do it all, but rather having the ability to organize the knowledge needed to complete a mission and extending this knowledge to others. After being appointed to the prestigious position of Homecoming Elections Chair in my Student Government class, I made a terrible blunder: I saw this as my opportunity to shine. I organized myself, set deadlines, and prepared for the challenge. Then I made a feeble attempt to do it all on my own. After multiple late night of counting hundreds of ballots, a couple strong cups of coffee, and a few tears, I realized an elementary lesson that to me felt like an epiphany: it is nearly impossible to carry out any truly astonishing task alone. I need to use the resources I have been granted. I must exemplify the definition of a leader and seek help from my peers. It is my job to use the word “we” and guide my team in the right direction. In doing so, I experienced the benefits that leadership offers. I then delegated responsibility and divvy up labor to all of my committee members. After completing my committee’s tedious job of selecting and crowning the Homecoming royalty I felt overwhelming confidence, fulfillment, and accomplishment that I had never before experienced. Although I learned the importance of the word “we” the hard way, doing so made a phenomenal difference in my life.

An efficient leader is difficult to locate and even more difficult to become. The achievements of brilliant leadership bring success, accomplishment, and happiness that make life worthwhile. A leader does not stand alone and say “Look at what I have done!” Instead, she stands with her supporters and exclaims, “Look at what we were able to achieve together!” A leader welcomes a perplexing hurricane with a hunger for adventure, a passion for knowledge, and a confidence that is unyielding. That is a leader.