Leadership, doctorate, and Facebook


“To what degree is your measure of success?” This is the question posed at 8:39 this morning in my leadership intensive.  A little too deep for the five sips of coffee I’ve managed to take after the amazing race from dropping off Joey at the puppy sitters, stop at Starbucks for coffee, Sheetz for the “working lunch” I nearly forgot I had to bring, and the create-a-space I made in the limited LU parking before I darted to RM 133.  Storming my classroom, sunglasses still on (I didn’t have a free hand to take them off), I stopped short of walking in because my seat was gone and the class was twice as large as yesterday.  Great. I’m already down to the wire and I’ve walked into the wrong class. I started to back peddle when I hear a few familiar voices from the day before calling me back in only to learn our teacher is sick so we’ve got a combined 600/700 level class. 

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Minutes after sitting, I am handed a small piece of paper that said, “A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone” – Henry A. Kissinger.  Wishing the coffee I had would jump-start my brain, I tried to focus on what this new prof was asking us to do with this quote; what does it mean to me?  You have to be willing to stand alone to be a leader. The wheels started turning as I considered how sometimes taking a stand means you’ll be standing alone. I think that is why all too often people would rather not work to take a stand but passively go along with the status quo. I clutched my Venti Christmas blend coffee (with coconut creamer) pondering the idea that leadership truly is a calling and but so is being somewhere at 8:30am. 

I have been a “student” in some capacity nearly my entire life.  Apart from a two year stint as a restaurant manager (long enough for me to know that was not what I was called to do for the rest of my life), I have remained in a degree or teaching in a degree program since 1997.  Sitting in this class, my eyes are reminding me that not stopping since thanksgiving has caught up with me, my body is reminding me that not skiing for 15 years has caught up with me, and this class is reminding me of why I have spent so many years in school.  I love to learn.  What I am most excited about, and something that was brought to our classes attention today, was the dissertation process and the completion of the “D” “R.”  May 2015 holds a sort of self-actualization in that regard.  I was asked last night if I’m going to change my status to “Dr. Renee Ruth” on Facebook.  Funny that Facebook is even part of the discussion related to the impending change of title, but as I gave it thought I realized that I would only reserve the “Dr” for academic situations.  Beyond that, I’d prefer to be known as “Renee Ruth” and continue on about my business of performing, crashing bands, skiing, dancing, traveling and going wherever the wind takes me.

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