When I look at different leaders it is empowering to see what motivates each and everyone, but then it got me thinking. What motivates me and how does that reflect in my own leadership. My idea of a great leader is one that gives not for their own self recognition, but purely for others,  someone that will take action to make a difference and not just think about it, and someone that aims to be self-less in a selfish world. My values in life exemplify my philosophy of a leader. My contributions as a leader lay out what I am doing to represent my philosophy.

My strongest values are love, keeping an open mind, and service. I strongly believe in the power of love for others and for the things you do. Love is powerful. Acts of love can go miles and make a difference because love speaks the loudest. One great thing about love is its universal and it can be shared and believed by anyone. When I lead, I lead with love and it helps to instill my belief in leading for others by caring for them. For example, I am part of an organization called F.A.C.T.S., Flint Active Team and Service and we do service trips to the city of Flint during there time of need. Although I can not connect to most of the population in Flint through my ethnicity or from where I live, but I do connect on love and helping those that need it. Flint has been without clean water for over 1,000 days. I went on a service trip purely out of love to make a difference and bring light back to the Flint community. I was determined to make a difference because it broke my heart to see what the community was facing and because of that it motivated me the most. There were no other motives, but love. I wanted to love on the community, the deserved it. On the trip we were cleaning up trash from a local area and a car stopped and thanked us. It did not seem like a big deal, but for the residents of Flint it meant the world. Small acts of kindness can go a long way and it just shows that whatever race, religion, gender you are we can all come together in the power of love for each other.

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Secondly, an open mind is another important value of mine because I believe that no one should be ethnocentric. I believe we should respect and be open to all ethnicities, religions, ideas, and other identities. Love and an open mind have a close relationship because by having an open mind proves the love for others by respecting who people are and what they believe in. Having an open mind allows me to evaluate myself and be aware of what I can work on to better myself to help others. Additionally, having an open mind allows me to be empathetic and understand others, which again shows my support and acceptance to others. Specifically, this idea helps me in the organizations I am a part of like College 101 and Lunch Buddies. Both organizations are working with at-risk students from elementary to high school level. When I am hanging out with them I have to keep an open mind and always we aware of what I say. Usually with at-risk students they do not have a influential mentor in their life and because of their misguidance they get backlash from others of not being a good student. When others have this negative image of these students it can start to reflect on the at-risk student believing that they are no good. An open mind allows me to be more emphatic for the students a have the right word choose because words can be powerful. Having an open mind allows me to not just see them as an at-risk student, but to see them as a human being and an opportunity to help them believe in themselves again.

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Lastly, service is important in my life. I believe that service should be above self. Many people get sucked in to an egocentric world, but it is crucial to realize that there are bigger more important things in life. By valuing service, it allows me to be a part of something bigger than myself and give back to those around me. Valuing service allows me to create a legacy that will last forever for myself because it can make a difference and help show the self-less philosophy. Rotary club has been a very prominent club in my life. I am currently a part of Rotaract at CMU, which is the college version of Rotary club. Our slogan is service above self. Rotaract’s mission and ideas exemplify my love and importance for service. Through Rotaract we do local and international projects that allow us to make a difference in our community, as well as around the world. One of the proudest achievements of the Rotary club is almost eradicating Polio by 99%. I am honored to be a part of a club that sees problems around the world and helps them through service. This club is the epitome of selfless service. Sometimes people only work to make a difference if it will positively help them, but this club sees problems not facing themselves, but in other areas in the world and will fight tirelessly to help, like the outbreak of Polio. This club wants to make a worldly difference, outside of their individual problems.

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As a leader, I work at making contributions in the way others think. If I can inspire and change the ideas people had to have a more positive one I will be able to make a ripple effect. My contribution will be to be a role model for anyone who needs it. I lead by example to show others skills and ideas I wish to instill in them. I want to affect the most amount of people possible, especially through different service projects and events I am a part of. By changing the way people think and giving through service it works toward my leadership philosophy of being self-less and making a difference. In order to do this I want to start small and have that ripple affect. By showing people that little things can make a big difference it will encourage others to follow behind me. It can be as simple as holding the door open, complimenting a stranger, or even paying it forward in some way. All these small acts of kindness can inspire others way of thought and how they treat others. There is always love to give, there doesn’t have to be a cost to be nice.

While, I make individual contributions and use my values to outline my leadership philosophy, it is equally important to know what I believe takes to reach true leadership status. The one thing that it takes to reach leadership status and to truly represent my philosophy is to be self-actualized. Being self-actualized is a physiological theory that says someone has reached the highest level of needs and has a clear meaning of life, including being self-less. Every day I strive to be self-actualized and live by my leadership philosophy, but like everything in life time and practice mean everything. My philosophy is who I am as a leader, but it is who I want to be, as well. Just like trying to reach being self-actualized, I am at different levels of my philosophy because each day I only get better and I am never at the same point in life.

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