I am sure that we are all familiar with the movie, The Lion King, which came out in 1994. The movie is about the development of Simba, from a young cub to a strong young leader. During one scene in the movie, the Rafiki (monkey) asked Simba a very simple question; “WHO ARE YOU?” This question, however, turned out to be what allowed Simba to define himself and take his rightful place as the leader of the lands.
As a student affairs professional, I think it’s important that you ask yourself this same question. “Who Are You” as a professional? “Who Are You” as a person? Of course, you surely understand who you already are, but I want you to take a deeper look at this question. Here are a few things that I would like you to examine, so that when asked, “Who Are You”, you can confidently convey the following:
W: What is your purpose?
It is important that you clearly understand what your purpose as a student affairs professional in order to be effective and functional. As an individual, it’s even more crucial that you have a defined concept of what you feel is your role in life. Is that to help others, to serve others or to teach others?
H: Hold onto your dreams!
As professionals, it’s important to be able to dream and allow those dreams to become reality! For no one can take those dreams away from you unless you let them! Dream big….and put things into place to make those dreams happen. As I use to commonly tell my staff, “make it happen.”
O: Overcoming obstacles defines your character!
We all have many trials and tribulations put before us. It’s more important to understand that how you address those obstacles is more important than the obstacle itself. Take the time to understand the full situation and than take the time to make/execute a plan of action.
A: Allow room for mistakes
I often tell my students that making a mistake is as natural as drinking water. It’s going to happen to every good professional. Learn from it, grow from it, and move on!
R: Remember to have FUN!
If you work just as hard as you play, you have a winning combination! Learn the art of balance in your life!
E: Explore new things!
Those that seek and test the uncharted waters are often the ones that we admire and envy. Set the standard and engage in changing the status quo.
Y: Yearning for knowledge is part of your education
Knowledge gives you the tool to strengthen your foundation. Be willing to share your knowledge and enable others to grow with you.
O: Observing others is very important
We often learn from the mistakes that others make. We learn what works and what doesn’t work. We need to take what we learn and develop it into our own.
U: Unified and not divided
When we are supportive of others and works towards unification, it allows for success that is often unforeseen.
Now, once you understand the question, “Who Are You”, using the first letter of each word will help you make your way. Learn how to make your own way in a positive manner and see where that takes you.
Rinardo Reddick is coordinator for America Reads/America Counts and a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University.