Walking the walk

“Leadership is not about power, it’s about influence,” said Nancy Hunter Denney, a nationally-known speaker and author who spoke at the Beto Criminal Justice Center Auditorium Tuesday night.

Denney spoke on how students should strive to become better leaders so they can impact the world around them.

“There are three fundamental principles of leadership,” said Denney.

She said the first principle is “The ability to walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Denney said this can be accomplished by knowing what one wants to be and then striving to be that person.

“The second fundamental principle is to have value-centered goals,” she said. “In order to lead effectively, we have to live effectively.”

She said it is important for leaders to have values and high ethical standards.

Denney said the third principle is to “Believe that you just might be right,” which means to never follow the crowd for the wrong reasons just because it is comfortable.

She said she learned this principle from one of her high school teachers that had a large impact on her life.

She also gave advice for college students that are trying to find fulfillment during their college years.

“When you go to class, sit in the front row,” she said.

Denney said too many students sit in the back of the class and avoid responding to the discussions.

“We can learn a lot from little kids,” said Denney. “They’re always raising their hands saying, ‘You know what?’ When college students raise their hands, they’re always asking, ‘Will this be on the test?'”

Denney said there are five lessons on life and leadership. The first lesson is to, “Let your name be your game,” which means to have a high sense of integrity.

“The content of your character is what you wish you were when you think about what you want to be when you grow up,” Denney said. “Focus on the content of your character.”

Denney said the second lesson is to, “Let your leadership speak.” She said people should not be known by what they say they are, but what people see them doing.

“For example, you wouldn’t normally see an 800 pound motivational speaker with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other hand. It just doesn’t match,” she said. “Do the things you need to do to enhance who you are.”

Denney said the third lesson is to, “Honor those you are blessed to serve.”

“We have been blessed in many ways, and we need to start acting like we have everything we need. We need to recognize that the best gifts we can give to others are our time and our talents,” she said.

Another lesson she gave was to, “Maximize the minutes.”

Denney said too many students sleep in and don’t go to class.

“I never went to class without leaving knowing at least one thing I didn’t know before,” she said. “You need to ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do to get what I need out of this?'”

She said this question could apply to schoolwork, relationships, and every other part of life.

“Look in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see, do something about it,” she said.

The final lesson Denney gave was to never be satisfied.

“We need to have a sense of divine dissatisfaction,” she said.

She encouraged students to vote in elections because their voices may not be heard today, but they will change the way things are tomorrow.

Denney said the best way to exercise leadership is to ask the question, “How can I help?” She said good leaders need to have that mindset every day.

Students that listened to Denney’s speech said she was inspiring and enthusiastic.

“Nancy Denney was very enthusiastic and motivating. She used a lot of examples and she kept my attention,” said sophomore Jaclyn McJunkin. “Overall, her speech was very interesting.”

“She’s great,” said freshman Lara Shaaban. “She really kept my enthusiasm, and I would love to see her again. Her speech was very inspiring.”

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