Reflections on a year in youth leadership

And it was. It was a year of great highs and lots and LOTS of learning. Here are my top 5 (and then some) reflections on the most valuable things I learnt. Some of these are going to sound SUPER cliche, but bare with me and I'm sure there'll be at least one thing you can take away from this piece.

1. You only get out what you put in/Make the most of every opportunity.

This was one of the first things we talked about at the February meeting of the Round Table last year. I thought it was a pretty obvious thing to say, but I applied it to every aspect of my life this year and learnt just how true it is. I firmly believe that the Territory is one of the best places to be involved in youth leadership. We have so many amazing opportunities that our interstate counterparts just do not have, or must compete tooth and nail for. It seems a waste not to take every opportunity you get! Put your hand up for everything that takes your fancy, even if it seems a little out of your comfort zone. I promise, you will get a pile of awesomeness out of it.

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2. Make connections, make friends.

I really, REALLY don't having those awkward small-talk conversations with new people I meet. I'd rather just skip all that and go straight to the friendship part.I think this is because I'm actually fairly shy, though those of you who know me well will scoff at this! It takes a very confident, self-assured person to be good at meeting people, saying what you mean and expanding your professional network. This year I threw myself in the deep-end. In the groups I became involved with there was no choice. I'm no pro, but the more I do, the more I enjoy it. And! I've found that (sometimes) people are interested in what I have to say. Sometimes they're not, but that's ok too. At the end of the day, talking about what you are passionate about, and learning new things about new people is what makes life great. You might even find, like I did, that you come out of it with some fantastic friends.

3. Get a mentoror two.

This is absolutely essential. You will find that you have one already, but may not know it. It kind of crept up on me and one day I realised that two of my loveliest friends are also the most wonderful, inspiring, knowledgeable and supportive people in the youth sector in the Territory. Duh! I've never sat down with these people and asked them to be my mentors in any official capacity, but I'm sure they know who they are. I was very pleased to learn during the year that one of them was taking notice of me as well (she gave a bio about me when I didn't even know there was a bio to share!)! I soak up new things from them every time I am lucky enough to be in their space. In fact, I find that I learn new things and am inspired by most people whom I have crossed paths with this year. There's always more to learn. Be a sponge!

4. There is more than one way to skin a cator lead a group.

It takes more than one person and set of skills to get a group where they want to go. There may be an elected chairperson, or a coordinator or project manager, but it takes leadership by all members of a team to achieve goals. It's nice to have the recognition of your peers as the formal leader of a group, but you must remember that this isn't the only way you can develop and share leadership skills within a group. We all have different life experiences and skills and strengths and it takes every single one of these to make a things awesome! It doesn't matter if you're that poster-person for the team, or if you're as shy as a mouse or can't write a long-winded essay or submission it matters how you feel within yourself and how you go about achieving your own goals.

5. Look after yourself.

I will harp on about this til the cows come home. I learnt about self-care at my induction as a ReachOut.com Youth Ambassador in May. Again, another thing that seems pretty obvious, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to overlook this and burn out. As an advocate for mental health and wellbeing, I believe being self-aware and having a solid plan for getting things in perspective is paramount. You can take on as much as you like, but remember you're not much use to anyone (especially yourself) if you are neglecting your self-care! For me it's about baking, eating good food, boxing, listening to my favourite music and watching geeky movies with my husband and friends.

There are many, many more things I have learnt and would love to share with you, but I fear Miss Moss may never invite me back if I harp on too long. At the end of the day, 2012 has been fantastic. I have found "my people" in a group of wonderful new friends and am really looking forward to what 2013 brings. The plans are looking pretty amazing. Turns out that the fear and quarter-life crisis I had was totally unfounded, after all.

A couple of final thoughts:

Know your weaknesses and embrace them

Know when to say "no" and share the load.

Take time to reflect and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

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Contributing Sources

http://www.appraisemuskoka.com - Austin, you came through in my situation once again!
http://voicetotext.me - Amongst my favorites.

Posted in Business Post Date 01/26/2019


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