Atlee Mathews (Epsilon Delta-Northern Illinois) recently attended the BE THE PERSON Conference 2012, a collaboration between Phired Up Productions and the RA Project. BE THE PERSON is an inaugural event, and this year 70 participants gathered at Loyola University to not just talk about becoming leaders, change agents, and EveryDay Heroes, but to actually learn by doing. Read about Atlee’s experience below.
Atlee on how BE THE PERSON 2012 will help her in the future.
Attending this conference gave me the strength and assurance that I needed to believe that I can accomplish my dreams and goals, not only with Alpha Phi, but in my life. We completed exercises that ranged from standing on the corners of a busy intersection of Chicago during rush hour with motivating signs to put a smile on the driver’s faces, to learning how to have genuine and true conversations with people. I have never been on such an emotional roller coaster before in my life, but I would experience it all again in a heartbeat. I have this conference in the back of my mind all day, every day now. I used to be filled with self-doubt, convincing myself that I was unable to make people feel my passion about my life cause; but after this conference, I know that I am capable of changing the world, one person at a time. It doesn’t take a grand gesture to make a difference in someone’s life, all you need is one person, being comfortable with feeling vulnerable and putting themselves out there to meet someone in a genuine and honest way. After all, any great relationship in life is started with a simple handshake…and I learned that I want to be the person that extends my arm out first.
Atlee on what it means to be socially excellent.
Being socially excellent isn’t simply a definition; it’s a lifestyle you embody. It means being willing to put yourself out there. It means that you dig deep within yourself to find something that you are passionate about, your cause, and strive to build relationships that will enrich your life and advance your ability to further your cause. Being socially excellent means being “that” person in many situations; the person that sits next to a stranger on the bus and says “hi,” the person that calls someone every week and tells him or her how inspirational they are, or the person that actually does what others simply talk about. Basically, being socially excellent, to me, means being the person that goes the extra mile to make someone else’s day a little bit better—because you genuinely want to. Because while you do this, you bring out a part of yourself that you never knew that you had—but now couldn’t imagine living without.
Atlee on bystander behavior.
My perspective on bystander behavior prior to attending this conference was a very negative perspective. I thought you always had to physically intervene in a situation and make things awkward and be the mood killer—and sometimes being that person in a situation seems overwhelming and unmanageable. This conference completely shifted my perspective on bystander behavior by 180 degrees. There are so many different ways to intervene in a situation that don’t require creating immediate confrontation. However, I am now comfortable, and much more likely to intervene in a situation that does require this type of intervention after going through the exercises at the BE THE PERSON 2012. This conference made me realize how much people are impacted by negative situations in their lives—and knowing that I can be the person that helps stop those horrible memories from forming by simply taking a minute of my life and intervening, makes me that much more astute to what is going on around me and that much more willing to step forward.
Atlee on how to be an EveryDay Hero.
Be an EveryDay Hero by doing something as simple as stepping up when people make comments or remarks about men and women in organizations different from their own and diffuse the negativity. Being an EveryDay Hero doesn’t require grand gestures and huge interventions…it simply means using the proper tools and techniques to let people in a negative or difficult situation know that what they are doing is not right, and try to understand why they feel the need to talk that way about those people, or act in the manner that they are. Being a hero is about understanding others and trying to make the situation better for all those involved; it’s being the voice for the people who are afraid to speak up for themselves.
Why Atlee recommends taking the EveryDay Hero pledge.
Everyone should sign the EveryDay Hero pledge! It pushes you to be the best version of yourself, and it makes you aware of the things going around you and urges you to intervene in situations when necessary. More people need to be like the men and women that I met at the BE THE PERSON 2012 conference, and I think that will start with more and more people signing the pledge to become an everyday hero.