By Esteban Sandoval
There are many challenges that come with trying to prepare a Student ACA (SACA) chapter for the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC). However, before you can focus on booking the flights, learning about the issues and registering your chapter, you must have a chapter to register. Do you ever feel like this is the toughest step in preparing for NCLC?
Does your chapter have a history of low percentage attendance at events, such as NCLC or applying for e-board positions? If so, this is the blog post for you! But what if your current chapter isn’t struggling at all…or if your current e-board is packed to the brim with amazing, passionate students and probably can’t handle any more awesomeness? This is a great position to find yourself in, but what about the next e-board? If this question has eluded your chapter, fear not, this blog will also address that!
Leadership Isn’t a Destination
The key to effective leadership is to speak to people’s “why.” For example, if you tell someone to attend NCLC, they will undoubtedly ask you for the details of the event. Normal. But the thought process doesn’t end there for them. Once you give them the “what” and “how” of the trip, they will filter this information through their “why” and determine if it is something worth doing.
Most people who attend the conference will agree that it is one of the most powerful events you can experience as a student. Why? That’s not rhetorical. I want you (right now) to ask yourself, “Why?” This is the foundation of how you will talk about and promote the conference to others. Ask around in your e-board before your next presentation and generate some ideas! Now, the task is getting the potential attendee from where they are to where you are. Leadership isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. Meaning, you will encounter people at all stages of willingness to engage and explore more, but it is your job to find them there.
Speak from Truth
Credibility is everything when speaking. We have nothing to gain by altering facts or magnifying events like NCLC, but we have so much to lose. If we convince students to attend or become involved with false hopes or advertisements, what will happen once that student arrives to the “promised land” and doesn’t find all that was promised? Not good. But worse still is the negative impact it will have on your campus. It’s like satisfaction surveys; few will fill them out to express their contentment but almost everyone will fill them out to warn others of their disappointment. Speak from truth, and let the efficacy of what we do and stand for do the rest. Most people know that events such as NCLC are great for networking, great for making friends from other chapters and we get to lobby for chiropractic rights. But I want to make sure you juice that last point for all its worth.
This One Deserved its Own Title
Let students know that their voice is important and reaches ears that otherwise would go deaf to the needs and requests of patients. For a few days, the titles of “doctor” and “student” take backseat to the title of “leader” and “champion” for patients’ rights. Let students know that this is their chance to have an impact on the real world outside of school. Oh yeah, and remind them that it’s the same world they are heading into right after graduating.
The Thing About Wildfires
According to any dictionary, a leader is a person or thing that leads. Not the mind-blowing piece of wisdom you read this blog for, I’m sure. So, let’s consider a small, but crucial, difference in two concepts of leadership--the difference between inspiring and igniting. Both are great starts for your chapter, but one will prove to have longer-lasting and more satisfying effects. According to any dictionary, to inspire is to fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence. This definition almost sounds passive to me. What about ignite? According to any dictionary, to ignite is to set fire, kindle. When choosing your next e-board, keep this in mind! If you are constantly having to animate something, what will happen once your influence is gone? But what will happen if instead you ignite passion? The thing about wildfires is they have tremendous growth potential and will exceed the location of their genesis. When training your next e-board, keep the big picture in mind and nurture contagious, passionate leadership.
Sandoval is a student at Southern California University of Health Sciences in Los Angeles. He also serves as national legislative chair of the Student ACA (SACA). For more information on SACA, click here.