Earlier this year I tendered an application to be accepted into NALA's LEAP (Leadership Enhancement and Promotion) program. Much to my surprise, I was accepted. It is my understanding I am one of approximately 16 people accepted into the program. I've been told it's a lot of work, there are group presentations, and it's a wonderful experience. The participants all have to present to NALA’s board at next year’s conference, and the winner presents to all the attendees. To be honest, I'm a bit scared and somewhat intimidated at the idea of presenting in front of all those people!
If any of you have had the opportunity to go to NALA convention, you know that the majority of the people attending are strong, smart, dedicated to the paralegal profession and appear to be so "on top" of things -- natural leaders. Things that, some days, I am sure I am not. However, I am not going to let my self-doubt hold me back; prevent me from trying new things; or finding ways for self-improvement. One of the things I love about being a paralegal is how a person can only be stagnant if they allow themselves to become so.
There are various ways to keep from growing stagnant, both personally and professionally, from continuing legal education classes, joining professional organizations, or taking a class from the community college. I used to dread public speaking, but being a member of the board on SNAP has helped me overcome that.
This year’s convention in South Carolina was amazing, probably because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and actually conversed with people I didn’t already know. I doubt I will ever have the confidence of some of the amazing people I met, nor their creativity (one of the affiliate booths was done Comic-Con style, as they are from San Diego, complete with a superhero cut out for you to take your photo and the chance to win a shirt saying “I’m a paralegal, what’s your super power?”), but by continuing to challenge myself I have no doubt I can be better. Even if the new skill, CLE, or class is not something I will routinely use, knowledge is power! My father used to always encourage me to continue learning new things, telling me that once learned it wasn’t something anyone could ever take away from me. As I grow older, I find that I enjoy learning new things and actively seek out ways to become better, be it at my job, or even just a better person in general.
Amy S. Hodgson, ACP