Within BBYO, I feel it is really easy to get carried away and plan out how you want all 5 years to go. When I was a young member joining, I thought I had everything all set and had set myself up to reach every goal. After being in BBYO for almost 3 years, I have learned this just isn’t possible.
This lesson definitely takes time to learn and requires experiences that knock these ideas down. In 8th grade I became Shlicha Chair for my chapter, and then ran for Shlicha later in the year and won. At this point I had “decided” that I was going to be Shlicha for the next term, either Mit Mom or S’ganit following that, then N’siah, and then figure regional board out. I also planned on steering and coordinating conventions too at some point. To make things short, my plans have thankfully been crushed. I quickly learned that I don’t just get things because I want them. I didn’t end up on board that second term that I thought I would be Shlicha, and it was so important for me to come back to being a general member after barely having much time being one when I first joined.
Planning ahead made me so focused on what I thought was the only option I had. I had convinced myself this was the only way I could be successful in BBYO. After coming to the realization that it just isn’t worth it to hyperfixate on things that are out of my control, my overall experience has increased exponentially. I have stopped worrying about what will happen with leadership opportunities and just let whatever happens happen. After being in BBYO for a longer time, more leadership opportunities have been introduced to me that seem much more fitting than just running for board. I’m currently a part of the ILN (International Leadership Network). I am on Press Corps writing articles (this article being one of them), on the Membership Committee, and am Steering IC (International Convention). When I first joined BBYO, I had no idea these options even existed and they weren’t on my radar. While I’m currently multitasking between being in the ILN and on chapter board, it is not necessary and there are so many ways I can be a leader within the International Order without having to run for board.
For IC this year, I am a part of the Shabbat Committee under both Friday Night Services and Saturday Morning Services. These roles take my plans of being Shlicha for a full year on chapter board to a different world. They most definitely are not the same, but there are one-hundred percent similarities. I have found new ways to use what I am passionate about that is completely different but still as amazing and special.
During and after attending CLTC 1 this summer, I learned about things for my chapter but also learned about international opportunities I could participate in. Following CLTC a bunch of my friends and I joined the ILN. This was something that no one back home in my region had really introduced me to but I was finding new ways I could be a leader with more options than the 8 positions on our chapter board. These roles I have taken on were never part of my original plan but if I stuck to the plan I would have been severely restricted and missed out on amazing opportunities and experiences.
I have also learned that while at some point I may have aspired to a certain leadership position, it is okay if this changes and I realize it isn’t what’s best for me. Sometimes the timing is wrong, or sometimes my interest just changes. There should not be pressure to do things in BBYO just because you feel like you have to. BBYO should be an individual experience for everyone with no 2 identical stories. Just because everyone is interested in a certain thing, doesn’t mean you have to. Our chapter, regional and international make-up is built on the fact that we are all different people with different interests. They all come together, balancing each other out to create a unique and perfect body of the International Order.
It isn’t always easy to lose an election or not get accepted for a certain leadership role or team. Having emotions initially after being declined from something is completely normal and okay. Being able to move on from this and continue to thrive is the most important part, allowing you to learn and grow. Not planning ahead has allowed me to live in the moment more and not worry about what is to come that is out of my control.
Rachel Wolf is a BBG living in Cleveland and she plays softball and loves to hangout with her friends.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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