September 24, 2018

By Celia Venable

Many people believe a leader must be fearless. It is often portrayed that leaders are “born to lead” and “looked fear in the face without batting an eye.” Which may hold true for some people but what about those of us who were thrown into leadership positions without a clue what we’re doing? Take me for example, never in a million years would I have imagined myself as a Vice President or President of any organization on my college’s campus, but my sorority sisters saw something in me and I have served as both on our Panhellenic Council. I went into it terrified of the outcome and unsure of myself. I found myself questioning my capabilities and if I should even accept the opportunity. Now, I am going into my second semester as President and still to this day, every time I think I have a clue about what I’m doing, something comes along that throws me off and quite frankly scares the daylights out of me. But now, I am comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. What’s changed? I have found the strength to keep going in my willingness to accept fear.

What have I done to confront my fears?

Admit your fear. It’s not easy to admit you’re a fearful leader. There are so many people looking to you for help and looking up to you, it can be intimidating to admit your worries and doubts. You’re not alone though, and this doesn’t make you weak. If anything, it should be empowering to harbor some fear. It means you care so much for your organization that it provokes an emotional reaction. Respecting that fear is a natural emotion, and not letting it stop you is what will set you apart.

Ask for help. Just because I oversee my organization doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have people I can rely upon. Opening up and asking for help can open so many doors to different solutions, that may not have been available otherwise.

It’s OK to fail. Sometimes I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders trying to balance multiple leadership positions on and off campus with being a student. Especially with Panhellenic, I feel like there is a lot riding on most of my decisions. Failure is a tough pill to swallow, but everyone fails sometime or another. I have found that it’s less about failing and more about what I do as a result of failure.

Fear shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness. Often times, it means we are pushing boundaries in our organizations and doing things that take us out of our comfort zone. Be confident enough in your abilities that you can go to bat with a situation and win and don’t be afraid to push yourself to a new or uncomfortable scenario.

About Celia Venable:
Celia Venable is studying Communication with double minors in Public Relations and Marketing at the University of Montevallo. She is a proud member of the Kappa Chi chapter of Phi Mu and has served her college’s Panhellenic Council as Administrative Vice President and President. She is involved in several other campus and local organizations and looks forward to working with the Coalition for Collegiate Women’s Leadership.