The great motivator and orator Zig Ziglar once said that it is our “attitude that determines our altitude.” The first step in moving from ‘Practically There’ to ‘There Practically’ is realizing your thoughts and attitude towards your pursuits have a tremendous impact on your results. Why are there so many people talking about improving, enhancing, or changing your attitude? Why is the Self-Help and Personal Motivation section packed in your chain bookstores? It’s because if we are honest, most of our attitudes, at one time or another, could use a tune up. As great as our vision may be, it is in our nature to not only think critically but also be critical of the vision.
To fully realize your potential as a student leader you must first adopt a grateful attitude. I say adopt because it requires you to take something, not naturally yours, by choice into a relationship, just like adopting a child requires you to CHOOOSE take on the joys of parenting a child that is not your own. Adopting a grateful attitude signifies an intentional endeavor to get happy with yourself. Part of being a responsible and practical leader is choosing and defining your attitude, if not others will do it for you. I know you’re human and that you have bad days, but a grateful attitude can help make those days suck less! As a college student you have so much to be grateful for (I know I sound like your parents right now, but work with me!): 16hr of class a week, parties every other day, greek life, Single Ladies/Basketball Wives watch clubs, it’s likely the sweetest gig you’ve had so far.
Now don’t get too caught up in the sweet life! We must WORK to reach our potential and move from Practically There to There. With Facebook, Twitter, DVR, and other modern marvels, we sometimes forget what it means to do certain things. I can’t remember that last time I looked up something without using Google or Wikipedia. Technology has made things more efficient and readily available. Technology makes publicity more streamlined, but nothing beats good old pubbing in the quad with flyers or going out in the community for a little shaking hands and kissing babies.
We have such great intentions and expectations and we don’t understand why after posting the vision for where we want to take our organization on the Facebook page and tweeting it, the entire campus doesn’t get fired up and fall strategically into place bumrushing our events and knocking down the door to join.
Maybe people are just not into that bottle cap collection club you started! Or maybe they don’t know you’re collecting them for a charity to donate money for cancer research. Practical leadership is easy; it simply requires elbow grease and clear communication. We can’t rely solely on our vision and intentions to lead for us. We have to inject our vision with work ethic and convey our intentions with passion, to inspire others to work along with us.
Also, as cool as technology is, it’s still just a tool. Just the other day I was complaining about how long it took a webpage to load on my iPhone. Really!? I was watching a movie yesterday and saw someone talking on a black brick with a green screen and lunch box with a shoulder strap connected to it. Complaining about how long it takes a webpage to load on my phone. It’s ridiculous.
As student leaders we sometimes get caught up in the same trap. We ask why can’t we submit proposals online, why is tweeting the meeting time not enough to get a good turnout, or my favorite…I text you to do it!! I’m not bashing technology but networking and socializing are still best done in person. Leadership is still best done face to face, building one relationship at a time. It takes effort,dedication, and more importantly passion!
Your organization will not run the yard just because you say it does. You have to efficiently guide your org into a position of influence through strategic programming, thoughtful community service, and providing solutions to meet the needs of the students on your campus. Leadership is work, it doesn’t matter if you’re a student, administrator, or CEO.
So today, adopt a grateful attitude, work hard, work smarter, and most importantly…work RIGHT! And you will move from Practically There to There..Practically!