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Happy 2017! I hope January has given you peace and direction for the upcoming year ahead. This past month, I had the awesome opportunity to assist three different chapters with primary recruitment: Tau at Indiana University, Delta Nu at Longwood University, and Kappa Nu at Marquette University. It has been incredible watching so many new members welcomed into our sisterhood!
I think one of my favorite parts of recruitment is listening to conversations chapter members have in regard to Sigma Kappa’s values, and how they desire to find the next group of women who will uphold them. As recruitment processes have shifted in the last decade to putting these values at the forefront, I have watched sorority women come to embrace them and focus on them within conversations.
Although I hold Sigma Kappa’s four values as my own, another value I hold dear is that of authenticity. I am often reminded of it during recruitment season, as I watch nervous potential new members attempt to fit themselves into the mold of who they believe a sorority woman to be. I humbly remember my own recruitment experience, as I eagerly rushed to buy new clothing for each of the rounds. I was looking for a way to fit myself into the perceived “sorority world”, not fully realizing organizations were looking to accept me for who I already was.
In the same way, I have witnessed chapter members continually worry their performance in recruitment won’t be enough. They are afraid they will say the wrong thing, forget their speech or trip while walking in their heels. Instead of showing up authentically in those moments, they fear rejection and dismissal.
Can you relate? Is there an area of your life is which you are attempting to conform to a perceived “correct image?” If your friends, spouse, family and co-workers spoke of you, would they describe you in the same way? I’d like to challenge each of you to show up more authentically this year. You deserve to be in spaces where you are valued for the person you were, the person you are, and the person you will become.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Being authentic to who you are can look like the following:
- Expressing your own unique style of dress
- Making mistakes and learning from them
- Working at your own pace
- Making time for your hobbies and interests
- Joining an organization that brings you joy
- Being loud and outgoing or quiet and observant
However, being authentic to who you are can also look like:
- Choosing the career you desire instead of the one others expect you to have
- Making your voice heard when you have a great idea or valuable feedback
- Only buying items that are within a realistic budget for your income
- Choosing not participate in activities or situations that make you uncomfortable
- Embracing your heritage and culture rather than downplaying it
- Being vulnerable with others when you experience a difficult circumstance
- Taking time to process and reflect on your beliefs
- Forgiving others who might not display the same level of authenticity
The world is better when you make the choice to show up authentically every day. Organizations thrive when diversity of thought, belief and experience is valued. As Marianne Williamson says in a line from her famous quote:
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”
So readers, I hope today you will choose to be unapologetically, authentically you. I will do the same.