“Clash Man” Becomes a Leader

leadership blogI sometimes wonder if my three years in middle school were harder than my three years in a refugee camp.

On the fashion front, I wore the same shirt to school three times a week and earned the name “Clash Man.”  In 8th grade, I got kicked off my basketball team and my family was forced to move into low-income housing. At my new school, I got my first D in math, and Cs in some of my other classes.

If you would have asked me if I was a leader, I would have laughed. I was trying to survive each day of school and hoping that life would get better.

Life did get better, but not because I got better housing or a new wardrobe.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I started keeping a journal. At first, I’d just describe how things went during the day. But then I started writing my goals and dreams. I described what grades I wanted. And each day, I took 10 minutes to track my progress.

By the time I finished high school, I had a stack of eight journals full of my goals and actions. I had also gotten accepted by every college I applied to, including Harvard, Yale, and Duke.

What is leadership? Leadership is not a position or money. It’s not being #1 in your class or having a big house.

Leadership is power that comes from how you think and act.

I discovered in high school that anyone, even Clash Man, has leadership power.

That’s why Florida Virtual School and Mawi Learning offer our Leadership Skills Development course. We believe that every student deserves an opportunity to unlock his/her leadership power.

In our class, we give students mental tools like the North Star to set goals and the Turbo Button to take action. We teach students dozens of research-based leadership tools.

My favorite moments are when I hear about students like Sofia. Sofia was terrified of public speaking. Now she has a YouTube speech that has inspired hundreds.

Or students like Angel whose family had to suddenly move as mine did. At the end of the class, Angel wrote:

“You don’t need a lot of money to do great things. You don’t need to know someone famous to make things happen. You don’t even need to be a genius to be successful in life. All you need is a little bit of courage and the willingness to GO FOR IT!”

Right on, Angel! If Clash Man can become a leader, so can you!

Are you taking Leadership Skills Development, Career Research & Decision Making, or Peer Counseling at FLVS? Share your thoughts with Mawi Learning founder and creator on Twitter @MawiAsgedom using the hashtag #flvsmawi.

Post by: Mawi Asgedom, Founder of Mawi Learning

Mawi Asgedom has inspired more than 1 million students and educators in 40 states with his uplifting speeches and has written eight bestselling books that are read in thousands of classrooms. A former refugee from Ethiopia, Mawi is the founder of Mental Karate, a leadership system used across North America. Mawi Learning, a leadership training company that has worked with more than 1,000 schools across the world, partners with FLVS to help students succeed in high school, college, and beyond through our Leadership Skills Development course.

One comment on ““Clash Man” Becomes a Leader

  1. Andrew Johnson

    Wow! You are truly an inspiration! I think I’ll even try out the journal thing! You have just become one of my role models who I look up to in life!


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