Michelle Obama. Serena Williams. Gina Rodriguez. My mom. These are all women that have taken leadership into their own hands and inspired the hell out of me (and my roommates who gave their input for this list).
At my last I Am That Girl meeting, we spoke a lot about leadership. Leadership is a huge topic but it got me thinking. What exactly is a leader and who exactly is a leader?
The first things that come to mind when I think of leaders are big, powerful positions. A governor, a mayor, the President of the United States… the list goes on and on.
However, these powerful (and mostly men-dominated) positions aren’t the only leadership positions that matter.
In a world full of bland white guys that sit in Congress all day and claim to be leaders, I’ve been pondering which female leaders are actually putting in the work to change the world. On the daily these women go out and fight the fights that have gotten us here today.
Serena Williams has proven the point that you truly can do anything.
Not only is she a world-renowned tennis star; she is also a mother, a clothing designer, a non-profit foundation leader and so much more. And she does this while wearing her natural hair, which many African American women still have to fight for today to do.
Now you don’t have to be Serena and do it all. You can be a leader of a club on campus, a student leader, or just be a leader in everyday life.
The need to be in a position of leadership in order to be a leader is just plain wrong. I’ve thought of five ways to become a leader in my every day life that can positively affect others, which is why we’re all here, right?
Decide to be the best you everyday.
Sometimes leadership is thrown at us, and if this presidency has shown us anything, it’s that you can be a very bad leader. With regard to the people you directly affect, you actively have to make the decision to have the attitude that will benefit both them and you. Wake up every morning with a clear goal in mind and set out to accomplish it. Even if your goal seems small, accomplishing it will feel great and give you the confidence to achieve bigger goals.
Use social media positively.
Over the last couple of days I’ve been trying to be more positive on my social media channels. I’m an avid Twitter user and I’ve come to realize that I am so sick and tired of all of the negativity on there. I’m tired of the subtweets, the outright hateful tweets, and the tweets just to belittle a certain group of people.
By changing your social media postings, you can bring more positivity into cyberspace and become someone to look up to. After tweeting positive messages for a couple days, I realized my tweets were getting more traction than normal and how receptive people were to them.
the eclipse was beautiful and so is today!!! today is a great day to spread some positivity and love yourself!!!
— 2002 subaru forester (@_MaddiPaige_) August 21, 2017
It takes under a minute to think of something positive and tweet it, and who knows? It might completely turn someone’s entire day around.
Becoming a high-ranking leadership official doesn’t happen overnight. Start small. Try just being a leader in your home. Be kind to your roommates, do your part around the house, and try to help whenever you can. It’s small actions like this that shift you from a follower to a leader. From there, apply the same concepts at a club you’re in, then your job, then your internship, and so on and so forth and you’ll find yourself taking on a bigger leadership role in your community.
Spread kindness wherever you go.
This may be one of the most important factors of being a leader. Have you ever had a boss, teacher, superior etc., who was always in a sour mood? Attitudes are contagious, and if you are in a terrible mood it will most likely affect everyone you come into contact with. So, just like Cinderella’s fairy godmother told her, be kind.
You can easily spread kindness in small actions. Smiling at and thanking your barista after they hand you your coffee, expressing how interesting the lecture was to your professor, thanking your mom for dinner. These are all kind actions you can perform that can actually make a really big impact on someone’s day.
Don’t place yourself on a pedestal.
Don’t place yourself above anyone else. Part of a leader’s job is to make others feel welcome, accepted and inspired. Being your true self without an added ego makes you relatable and more likely to be approachable.
The best tip however, is to just be your badass self and remember that you can make an impact in the world.
Pictures via Tumblr and Vogue.
Also published on Medium.