The Reluctant Leader

“The table is now open for nominations for president… Any nominations for president?”

Someone stood up and said, “I nominate Chris Dao-anis for president.” I was shocked!

Why are they – juniors and seniors – nominating me – a freshman to be their president?

I was even flabbergasted as one stood up and said, “I move to close the nominations.” Before someone seconds the motion, I raised my hand in objection!

Have you ever been nominated for a position and you objected?

The presiding chair recognized me and gave me the floor to speak. While choking with words, I told the group, “I suggest that we select a president who is more experienced, more senior and more capable to lead the group.”

I am thankful that I was not a Toastmaster then. I would have delivered a 30-minute privilege speech to support my objection but that would have probably achieved the opposite purpose.

I was grasping for words and gasping for breath. For an unknown reason, I could not understand why I almost cried while saying my objection. So as not to be embarrassed of my teary eyes, I rushed outside.

As I was walking out, I heard someone said, “You are that person you just described. You are capable of leading the group.” But I brushed it off and proceeded outside. The election concluded without me in the roster.

I was in first year high school then. And I was a reluctant leader. But I didn’t know that something in me has sparked that night.

Have you ever come to a realization that in a seemingly ordinary event in your life, something extraordinary is going on?

I attended school as a normal student who participated in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. My teacher had no choice but to ask me to participate in Math and Science competitions. Being the obedient boy that I am (ahem), I had to say yes. My teacher also asked me to write for the campus paper and I did.

After a year, I have seen the normal and abnormal happenings in the campus that stirred my young heart. No, I’m not talking about my campus crush. I’m talking about my desire to lead and serve the student body.

Have you ever had a sudden change in perspective and actuations in life?

As a sophomore, I got elected as Press Relations Officer of the student council. Before the year ended, the school paper adviser assigned me to be the “acting editor-in-charge.” And in that student group where I first declined the presidency, I became the president.

As a junior, I joined the Cadet Officer Leadership Training. And in the school paper, I was finally designated as the editor-in-chief.

As a senior, I led my batch as the Corps Commander of the CAT class, still the editor-in-chief, and seemingly a student adviser in my first student group.

Looking back, I was laughing at that reluctant leader who eventually held various leadership roles. During those years, I rallied the students to new activities. We organized battle of the bands, sports fests, and other big gatherings.

While it is overflowing with challenges, those years were filled with fun and fulfilling moments.

In college, I served as the President of the Federation of Kibungan Students and of the Junior Accountants in our Chapter, and became a section editor in our University paper. At work, I last served as a Supervisor in a multinational company before I left last year. In Toastmasters, I have served as Sergeant-at-Arms, VP PR, Club President, and Area Governor.

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It dawned on me that that reluctant leader fifteen years ago has become a leader in numerous times in different groups in different settings. At times, I would still decline a leadership role just like when I declined to become the Assistant Division Governor for Marketing two years ago. I also have declined to become the Division K Director supposedly for this Toastmaster year. But when I see it fitting, I would rise up to the challenge to lead.

I realized that within a reluctant leader is a potential leader. But only when that person allows him or herself to lead that this leadership potential will be pushed out to propagate the precious potentials of people through powerful plans and programs while punching away problems coming in the way.

You see, at a certain level, I still am a reluctant leader. I don’t know if you are reluctant leader.

But have you allowed yourself to lead? Will you allow yourself to lead?

 

Live your dreams with love,

Chris Dao-anis

 

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