Does leadership come from a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?
When faced with this question, I had to evaluate my initial thoughts. My instinct: yes, of course. Leadership is being open to new opportunities and expecting the unexpected, even if the result is not ideal. But my indecisiveness was dying to challenge this, so I considered the ‘no’. My biggest point was that leadership is about knowing boundaries and when to step down. And although there is other support to back it, I stand firmly in my belief that leadership mostly derives from saying ‘yes’.
Saying ‘yes’ to new experiences is is saying ‘yes’ to the opportunity to grow. Leadership comes from taking healthy risks, and without these risks, there would not be progress. A true leader can handle the consequences that challenges bring upon them because they understand the possibility of the negative outcome.
Progress comes from welcoming new experiences with open arms. Saying yes to things with uncertainty leads to gained knowledge and better understanding. Obviously, boundaries need to be made and saying yes can only go to a certain extent, but one can only understand their limits if they test them in the first place.
In my junior year of high school, a fellow student of mine named Stefan was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He was a senior, and his friends stepped up to the plate to bring the whole school together in support. When the cancer worsened, his friends made the goal to make his biggest dream come true: to meet actor Terry Crews. They set the goal, knew the chances were not high, but pushed for it anyway. Taking that chance was well worth it; after a few weeks of countless tweets, my school got the hashtag #TerryCrewsForStefanOncia trending on Twitter, and even got Crews’ attention. He reached out to Stefan’s loved ones, and our classmate’s wish came true. Terry Crews came to Michigan to meet Stefan in late 2014.
The impact the 2015 senior class at my high school made on the life of one person, a student body, and a whole community is unforgettably moving. The simple idea to tweet at a celebrity banded together an unimaginable amount of people. This is a pure example of leadership. These students’ inspiration created motivation, all from saying ‘yes’ to achieving a goal.
Progress is exciting, and as a leader, necessary. The ability to inspire others is achieved by challenging the status quo and doing what is ultimately best for everyone. Saying ‘yes’ to new challenges means that you want to see change and growth take place. When one feels inspired, he or she will do whatever it takes to achieve an ideal outcome. Before you know it, the decision to progress can inspire a whole team of people, just how my whole school was inspired to achieve our classmate’s dream.
In my life, I want to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities that come with healthy risk. Those decisions will lead to unknown outcomes, but will also add interesting and exciting challenges to my life. I may not know exactly where my future will take me, but as long as I work hard for what I want and allow myself to step out of my comfort zone, I am bound to find success at some point. Even though taking risks means failure is inevitable, I am not afraid. I will welcome changes and difficulties with open arms so I can eventually grow as a person. Leadership does not come from saying ‘no’ or denying change… Leadership comes from saying ‘yes’, from taking on the seemingly impossible, and from challenging a team to go the extra mile.