I have always been that girl that liked to work in solitude. More work seems to get done that way, or at least that was how I felt about my experience. Working in groups has never really been fun for me. Crazy thing about my ideology is that it is very contradictory of my action. Since my undergraduate career started, I have volunteered to be in leadership positions which involves working with people. People with different communication styles, work ethics and ideas about life, in general.
With that being said, earlier this school year, I decided to help organize a delegation to attend the African Black Coalition Conference, an annual gathering of African and African American students in the University of California system. Finally all the hard work of getting 80 students to travel 400 miles to UCLA would be put to the test.
To put it simply, his weekend was an intense one. I learned so much about myself and about the people I work with. And the idea that not everyone is always going to be happy keeps getting more factual in my book every day.
With that being said, I'm becoming more comfortable with conflict which is something that has been on my avoidance list for most of my life. I actually asked my co-workers a couple weeks ago how to deal with conflict and this weekend, I got to use some of their advice. It was a stressful experience to say the least, but it was a moment of growth for me. Both growth closer to people and growth within myself.
One of the keynote speakers for the weekend, Dr. Darnell Hunt, actually touched on this a bit while he was on stage. He was pretty amazing. He kept is real for us. He discussed what it took to be a leader in life, and more specifically leaders on our campuses and respective communities.
His four points of advice are:
1. Know your history
How can you make improvements if you do not know what leaders before you have done? Learning about the actions of our ancestors have taken to make improvements could help improve our experiences with improving society.
2. Familiarize yourself with your administration
This was related to the university, but I think this advice can be directed toward anyone. Being knowledgeable about the institutions which you are trying to change is important because with that comes the knowledge of knowing what can and cannot be done.
3. Set goals for yourself
"It's better to say that something didn't happen because there needs to be more work around it, not because you never even tried to put forth any effort." Word to Dr. Hunt! My list of goals is currently in the works. I need to stop talking and just start walking.
I am learning more and more each day how important this is. Reflecting can help you see what you need to improve and make changes to meet those improvements. Also, you must check yourself before you can check anyone else.
And the words that spoke to me most: "You're not there yet." There is always room for growth. If there wasn't, what would be the point of even living, right? So with that, I will be reflecting on what I can do better and improving myself before telling someone else what they need to do.