31st March 2020

I’m not a leader…?

By Becca Lennox, first year adult nursing student, Liverpool John Moores University

Last year, I received an email telling me about a leadership programme. I thought, why am I being sent this; I’m not a leader?. I read about the programme and saw that there were only 50 places per year in the whole of the UK, not just for nursing and midwifery students, but for allied health professionals too. Despite thinking there would be no chance of gaining a place, I applied anyway. I had completely forgotten about it until December when I received an email to say I had been successful. What?!?  I got a place?! I read it a few times to check it was right. And, yep, I had been accepted.

I wondered, how could I go to a two-day event with all the 50 leaders that were selected? I am not a leader. Yes, the imposter syndrome had fully kicked in. We started to receive emails about the speakers and information about previous students and all the amazing things they are doing now. It didn’t take long for me to start researching everyone on Twitter. This did not help the imposter syndrome.

When I got to the venue in March, I was so nervous. I kept thinking, don’t be yourself and talk too much, and ruining it like you normally do. We began with lunch and I got talking to all these amazing students. Already the learning got underway. I didn’t know there were two types of radiographers – therapeutic and diagnostic.

The first speaker was Dr Katerina Kolyva, the Executive Director of the Council of Deans of Health who run the programme. It was lovely to hear her experiences and learn about the programme. We got to listen to previous students from last years cohort and it was really inspiring to hear all the things they have gained from the programme and all the projects they have been involved in. The imposter syndrome is still going…

Stacy Johnson MBE then spoke to us about inclusive leadership. By the end of her session, my mind had completely changed. She spoke about “being you, and be the you-est you” and I really resonated with that. Someone has seen the potential in me to be a leader and absolutely anyone can be a leader. I want to inspire others, a new generation, where it is okay to be a leader no matter your race, age or religion. If you want to apply for something but don’t think you’re “good” enough, then you do it because you are absolutely good enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

People talk about tribes and finding your tribe. I never really understood what that meant and was always a bit sceptical because I’ve never really felt like I’ve found my place anywhere, ever. I found mine with the other 49 leaders on this programme. Over the two days, we were encouraged to leave messages in boxes for our fellow leaders and when I was on the train back home, I read the messages others had written for me. I was expecting maybe 2 or 3, just a few words but I had 28 messages: big pieces of paper saying I was inspirational, that they had felt comfortable talking to me and they can’t wait to see what I do. I cried (a lot), happy tears. I never thought I would ever be so accepted. Thank you.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This is one of my favourite quotes and is something that has always stuck with me. I even got it tattooed at 18. To me, it means YOU make your future and YOU need to follow your dreams.