“Daring to lead is now part of my everyday life” – Shanique (19)

“Dare2lead has enabled me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. When I always thought “I can’t” dare2lead made me realise that I can. Success is a journey, not a destination. It has allowed me to enjoy the journey of success and given me the confidence and skills to continue MY journey”

“Daring to lead is now a part of my everyday life.”

I write this exactly one month after visiting the Sri Lankan Parliament building with dare2lead! The exchange to Sri Lanka was certainly one that I will never forget because even though it has only been a month since returning I have seen a huge personal development in myself. I have been on similar projects abroad but this exchange was distinct in that it was in a group with 15 amazing young individuals that are involved in amazing projects and organisations. Prior to going to Sri Lanka, after meeting the UK team I felt as though I fell short. I remember telling my Mum how confused I was that I had been chosen for this because I didn’t feel as though I had anything tangible to bring to the group like the others did. I was constantly doubting myself and questioning my participation. I would put myself way down at the bottom of the spectrum of political engagement and being in Sri Lanka with its political situation every other conversation was about POLITICS. Sri Lankan politics, Irish politics, Scottish politics and I remember thinking to myself that this is what the “real” world is like and I began getting a bit worried. All of those thoughts aside, the dynamics in the group enabled us to have a laugh! I remember on the 7 hour journey back from Anaradhapura I was the quizmaster for random general knowledge quiz (based on my knowledge), not forgetting the Vengaboys sing-a-long!

Its difficult to communicate in this short piece of writing the fun we had as a group of 16 young people and these are memories that will stick with me forever. It actually wasn’t until the second to last day that I realized how much I’d learnt. Speaking at a press-conference about issues we had discussed over the week, I was able to voice my argument about youth participation in decision making so passionately, and only then, had I realized that I can really make a difference. I look back on the trip and see how much I underestimated my voice as part of a group of leaders. I think it is easy for one to feel drowned out by others, even when your experiences prove that you are a valuable player – The Dare2lead exchange was unique not only because it was youth-led but the fact that all participants came from different backgrounds and I can say that I have made 15 life-long friends. This exchange has proved to me that while leadership is sometimes about having the loudest voice it is also about the most coherent arguments, and possessing an abundance of confidence to guarantee that your voice is heard. But not always. Having a passion to want to make a change and stepping out of your comfort zone to begin that change manifests leadership in anyone.

Shanique x

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