The Last Word

By Colby Allen | Posted: Tuesday February 12, 2019

Today the 2019 prefects were announced. As prefects we find ourselves with a great opportunity to lead and set a good example in all areas of school life.

I am sure we will lead you well and will improve our own personal leadership skills over the course of the year. However, regardless of whether you have a prefect tie or a form leader badge, you can be a leader. Even if you are not the captain of your sports team or the leader of a cultural group, you can be a leader. After all, leadership is not just about a title or being the person people look up to, it is also about being the leader of your own life.

It is easy to live as a passenger, going through life making passive decisions, not being in control of your own future. It can be easy not to strive to achieve your goals, accept your failures as inevitable and never seek self-improvement. It can be easy to take no responsibility for your actions and blame one hundred and one different things instead. However, taking responsibility for your own actions, your own goals and your own future is a vital aspect of leadership. Being the leader of your own life is leadership. So, here are my three top tips to ensure you can be the leader of your own life.

Firstly, set goals and work to achieve them. Picture your ideal life. Where do you want to be in five, ten years? Then set daily, weekly and monthly goals that help you get there. Whether the goal is striving for an excellence in an upcoming internal or training that little bit harder at rugby practice, goals keep you motivated towards an end result. They make you strive for self-improvement. This want, this desire to improve every day is a critical element of being the leader of your own life.

Secondly, ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. Be the inquisitive kid at the front of the class who is the first to ask for help when stuck. After all, questions are the key to unlock knowledge. Every great idea, every great innovation started with a question. Charles Darwin questioned the biodiversity of bird life on the Galapagos Islands. Isaac Newton asked, ‘why does an apple fall from a tree’. Questions lead to more questions, which eventually lead to answers. So, in order to be the best leader you can be, I would encourage you to be curious, ask questions and value the answer to them.

Finally, be reflective. I try to be reflective in my own life. Last year I unexpectedly failed my piano exam. I was disappointed as it was something I had been working on all year. This made me reflect on what I could have done better in order to pass. I realised that I needed to better manage my commitments to ensure that none of them were neglected. I could have spent more time at the piano. By reflecting on this, I made myself aware of what I was doing well, and what I was not. This reflective mindset allows me to improve the way I behave and the way I lead.

Leadership is not just about a position or being a figure of authority. It is about being the captain, the leader of your life. By setting goals, asking questions and being reflective, you can do this.

I’ll finish with a quote from Steve Jobs.

‘’Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.’’