At Bender Leadership Academy we know that becoming a leader and an advocate starts with taking responsibility and ownership of your life. Independence is a key life skill which builds the foundation for leadership skills. Leaders don’t wait for others to tell them what to do, they take charge and get the job done.
Remember, nobody can give you independence, you must embrace your inner awesomeness and take that first step on your own. Then you must show that you can deliver what you commit to, repeatedly to build trust and demonstrate that you can do it.
So how do you start to build independence? You begin with setting goals and then take action to reach those goals.
Start with setting meaningful and achievable goals that will demonstrate your ability to be responsible. It starts with this – you must select the goal and the goal must matter to you. Then you must create a plan for how you can reach the goal, independently.
Helpful Tip: Write down your goal and the steps you need to take, along with due dates and put it somewhere you will regularly see it as a reminder.
Say for example that you want to get a part-time job this summer, but your parents are concerned that you are not ready yet to take that step. What can you do to show them that you are ready for that level of responsibility?
Consider the following questions:
- Who gets you up in the morning? Are you the one who sets the alarm, gets out of bed, and gets ready for the day or does someone have to tell you when it is time to wake up and leave to be at school on time?
- Who ensures your homework is not only finished on time, but turned in on time and using the correct method?
- Who adds your activities and commitments to the family calendar?
- What about household chores? Do you keep a list of what chores you are assigned to do or does someone need to tell you every week, multiple times what needs to be done?
Would changing your behavior regarding some of the above areas demonstrate to your parents that you can handle the extra responsibility of working part-time? What smaller goals can you set to meet your bigger objective?
How might their perception change if you set a daily alarm and got yourself up out of bed and ready for school? How about if you set reminders for when you need to do household chores, like taking out the trash, walking the dog, or assisting on laundry day? What if they don’t have to tell you when it is time to start your homework? What if you kept your room neat and tidy?
Remember, when you have a job, you must be there every day on time. You must complete tasks at work to meet deadlines, just like with homework or household chores. Your manager will expect you to have a good attitude, be dressed professionally, and keep your workspace clean. Doing things at home demonstrates that you know what it means to take ownership and will build trust that you can be independent and responsible.
Remember your helpful tips for setting and reaching goals.
- Select your goal. It is important that you pick the goal and that it is something you will commit to.
- Write down your goal and the steps you need to take to reach it. Breaking the goal down into individual parts allows you to take small actions or individual steps toward reaching your goal.
- Set due dates for each step. Determining due dates will help keep you on pace to meet your goal.
Setting goals will set you up for success on your journey toward independence. The first step is yours to take