3 Steps Great Student Leaders Take

Posted on September 14, 2015

Have you ever seen a little kid jump off the diving board for the first time?

I was a swim coach for 13 years, and I’ve helped hundreds of young swimmers take their first step off the diving board. Here’s what happens every time…

  • The little kiddo slowly inches his way to the front of the diving board.
  • His knees are knocking.
  • You can envision the mental gymnastics going on in his mind.
  • Absolute terror is written all over his freckled face.
  • Every delay tactic in the book is tried.

Finally, the little guy comes to his moment of truth: Step Off or Chicken Out!

Step Off or Chicken Out

In order to better understand the 3 steps great student leaders take, a few insights about children jumping off the diving board need to be realized first.

For one, children don’t “jump” off the diving board the first time. They “step” off. Jumping comes later. Initially, all they do is take one very small step.

Two, when a child decides to step off the diving board, his or her swimming skills improve instantly and dramatically. No joke! I’ve worked with wannabe swimmers who didn’t learn anything for months. Yet when they finally mustered up the courage to step off the diving board for the first time, they instantly take off as swimmers. They learn more during the next week than they learned during the previous three months. Is this amazing transformation due to the fact that I’m such an awesome swim coach? Well…of course, but that’s besides the point. The point is with just one little step swimmers can catapult their success forward.

3 Steps Great Student Leaders Take

In the same way, a few little steps can catapult you towards greatness as a student leader.

Step #1: Own Your Reputation. Sour behavior does not create a sweet reputation. A sweet reputation is developed little step by little step over a long period of time. It’s developed day by day when you decide to be better today than you were yesterday. Student leaders become great leaders when they choose to take 100 percent ownership of their reputation. (Read more about How to Take Ownership of Your Reputation.)

Step #2: Own Your Response. Most people embrace E=O. They believe the events in their lives determine the outcomes they experience. However, great student leaders embrace a different equation. They add an R to make it E+R=O. In other words, great student leaders believe the events that occur in their lives plus their RESPONSE determines their outcomes. They take 100 percent ownership for their response no matter what events they face, and this mindset allows them to turn even the most challenging circumstances into opportunities for success. (Watch a video on the Four Fence Post of 100 Percent Responsibility.)

Step #3: Own Your Resolve. It takes a ton of guts for a four year old swimmer to step off the diving board for the first time. But when he or she does, watch out! That swimmer starts swimming like a fish in no time. In the same way, it takes a ton of guts to do more than talk the leadership talk; it takes a ton of guts to walk the leadership walk. But when you do, you step into greatness as a student leader!

 

Final Thought. Whether it’s a small child stepping off the diving board for the first time or you stepping into a new student leadership opportunity for the first time, forward is the direction of success. So when a new leadership opportunity reveals itself to you this year, be sure to step forward by taking 100 percent ownership of your reputation, your response, and your resolve. If you do, you will live it forward into great leadership!


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