Stories and Leaders: She Will Lead

Last week, Sarah invited me to "She Will Lead" an event organized by the Underwear Club where female student leaders on campus would come together to tell their stories, celebrate women's leadership on campus and talk about what we've learned. Although I wasn't sure what to expect, after leaving the event I was moved by all of the stories I had heard. I have heard about the power of storytelling time and time again, but really experienced it this week. The event was informal in the sense that everyone could say anything they wanted to, there wasn't really a structure or schedule, but this was easily one of the most interesting storytelling sessions I've been to. In fact, not having a structure made it so much more effective in the sense that everyone said what they thought about more than just what it was like to be a leader. The conversations included everything from figuring out major life decisions, lessons or choices. It was incredibly powerful, and everyone had a story to tell. Leading yourself was what I had spoken about and my personal experiences with leadership roles. I find it to be easy to lead and organize initiatives or clubs, but to actually lead yourself, taking control of anxiety and actualizing potential is much more difficult. More often than not, it can be so easy to lead others but not yourself. Whether it's leading yourself into more opportunities, involvement or positive changes, the wall of fear often gets in the way of things way more than it should. Vulnerability was another important topic that was brought up. How much vulnerability is too much? Not showing any or showing too much can also be problematic with how people not only perceive you, but your capabilities. This seems to be the type of balance that so many of us struggle with, in many ways like leading yourself, it can be the hardest to accept your own vulnerability, let alone allowing anyone else to see it. Change was another theme that was brought up, as it often accompanies vulnerability, and in most situations, embracing change set many of those vulnerabilities free. Spirit, whether it's finding it, cultivating it or embracing it, spirit is an important part of character. Many of the girls mentioned how the various things they currently lead or chair were things that excited them in a new way, a way that kind of shocked their spirit enough to realize it was something they wanted to get more involved with. Or, the lack of spirit and questioning of why certain paths were chosen before ultimately realizing that it wasn't for them was a another way spirit helped mobilize the paths meant to be taken. It was incredibly refreshing to hear so many different narratives from young women who are all leaders on campus that have also experienced the same kind of challenges and fears. Looking forward to the next one! -Vahini

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