University of Central Florida
As a member of Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society of Leadership and Success, I personally grew from the benefits associated with being a member. The videoconferences I attended attributed to a new outlook I had on my personal goals and my awareness of my potential. I thought as I viewed the speakers that some of their ideas were somewhat far-fetched, but I realized the theme in all the speakers. They were sometimes not to be taken literally, but I was meant to read between the lines. I learned not how to act to be successful, but how to think. If I taught myself how to ?think successful,? my actions and beliefs would follow. I carried this with me in my involvement with the community service project I attended, where we prepared hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gave them out to the homeless in downtown Orlando. We conversed with them and became like family to them. The way I thought about helping people really jump-started my energy to take action and help out. I taught myself from the material presented to members that if I think and believe I am making a difference, my body will follow and I will reach that goal.
I used the SNT meetings to practice my new way of thinking. The first thing I did was make goals for myself. They ranged from academic goals to a personal goal to lose weight and become a healthier person. I definitely improved my life by creating these goals, but also by thinking and believing that I could reach them. I took steps toward losing weight, I developed better studying habits, and I ultimately became more confident in my ability to lead myself to success, and to help others. I not only benefited from my goals, but I believe my work toward my goals helped the homeless when I promised myself to the community, and my actions as an officer of the organization benefited the members as well. I led by example, and for the first time, I saw people following my example. It was uplifting.
One personal goal that I set during my SNT meetings turned out to be the biggest life-changing experience that I never thought I would have. As a senior in college, about to graduate in a world of high unemployment, low esteem, low confidence, and low morale, I questioned my purpose. I wondered what I should become, and what to do with my life. When I asked this question, I thought and thought but couldn't figure out the answer. I began to think about the answers to the questions I was asked during my Leadership Training Day. I noticed that many of my answers ran together into a general theme. Most of my answers centered around the fact that I wanted to help people. In particular, I found that I focused most on helping youth, both middle class and underprivileged. I had discovered my ?theme.?
I had always been a big fan of the television show To Catch a Predator, in which crimes against children are prevented and investigated. I have always been around children, and many times responsible for the safety of children. It was something I was passionate about. After considering the theme of my answers to the Leadership Training Day, I found myself watching America's Most Wanted, where they were airing a documentary about one man who had rounded up some underprivileged teenage females who were headed for trouble and had taken them to visit a state prison for women. He had arranged for volunteer prisoners to talk these girls out of the bad life they were headed for. The feeling I got while watching this show was unexplainable. It had seemed as if I would never find my true passion, my life's calling. But when I saw this show, after considering everything that had been floating around in my mind, I knew I had found my passion. I knew that I wanted to protect children. I wanted to protect them from crimes against them, as well as crimes they could commit against their lives.
My experience at Leadership Training Day was crucial to who I now consider myself to be. The day's purpose wasn't just training to know how to lead subordinates in the workplace. It was about training me to lead myself, and to reach success not in terms of money or materials, but success in living out my passion. I have already begun living my passion. I am a working contributor to the non-profit organization Perverted-Justice.com and I am preventing crimes against children through hard work and dedication. I plan to continue this work, as I graduate and start my own non-profit organization, aimed at creating opportunities for youth where it seems there are none.
So, after all the time throughout my college career that I had spent thinking about what I will do with my life, it was the Society, and my Leadership Training Day experience, that brought out my true passion and my call to duty. I have never felt such a strong sense of purpose as I did when I realized what I want to do. I felt it right at that moment, and since that moment this flame has not died down. Now with my clear sense of purpose, I can only hope this flame, my vision, will spread like wildfire.