STUDENT LEADERSHIP Elections: how to build a user friendly emotional tool kit
Looking after your feelings and behaviour after student leadership school elections
Whether you are voted in or you miss out on an opportunity to take a student leadership role it is understandable and natural that you will experience some emotions after the results are announced. If you have been voted to take leadership role then you will be feeling excited, delighted and full of joy.
If you missed out then naturally you will feel heavy in some way. Perhaps your heavy feelings may be disappointment and sadness. You may also feel frustrated. Sometimes when we try out for something and we are not elected or chosen for the role we can feel so vulnerable, because we feel like we have failed. As the CEO of Kindness On Purpose I have experienced A LOT of success. I have also experienced many times when it looked like I had failed. I believe there is no such thing as failure. For me, failure is evidence that I am pursuing something that I care about.
Even so; when we try out for something and don’t get it, it is natural to feel heavy feelings. And what do we do when we feel heavy feelings? We look after our feelings so we can feel ok again.
The most important NEXT STEP after elections is therefore to
1. Name your feelings (what and where am I feeling heavy or light)
2. If feeling heavy; then look after your feelings
3. Understand you will feel ok again soon.
Ways you can look after your heavy feelings include;
Talk about how you feel to a trusted person.
Use self talk (yes this is talking to yourself!) to remind yourself that you are wonderful for applying for the role, it’s just a feeling of disappointment and you can look after your feelings and the heavy feelings will pass soon.
Do something that you enjoy and feel good doing e.g. sport, drawing, being a good friend.
Be kind on purpose. When you help someone your mind and body will feel good.
Use a heat pack on your chest, belly or back as this can help your body and mind feel better.
Wrap yourself up into a nice blanket
Go for a walk in nature.
Cry, its ok to show how sad you are.
Ask for a comforting hug from a safe person in your life.
Call KIDS HELPLINE on 1800 55 1800
If you have been elected then there are special steps you need to take as part of your first role as a student leader. It can be tricky to get the balance between feeling full of joy, celebrating your success and being mindful of the feelings of other students who were not elected. It takes a leader with great emotional intelligence to manage both of these experiences at the same time. This is a skill that you can learn.
To be a mindful leader and both celebrate the joy of success whilst being mindful of the feelings of those who were not elected; then follow these steps.
1. Show gratitude – take some time to think about how fortunate you are to have been elected. Write a list of all the good things to be thankful for about becoming a school leader.
2. Acknowledge the responsibility that comes with the role. Every good leader has a plan about how they are going to act as a leader and what they wish to achieve while they are in the leadership role. Well now you are in the role. It’s time to put that plan into action. When everyone is congratulating you, it is a good time to say thank you and then talk about how you are looking forward to supporting the rest of the students at your school.
3. Conduct yourself with grace. Know that in the days and weeks after the student election results are announced; many people will be noticing how you speak, act and interact with others. All eyes will be on you. So be mindful about the WAY you speak to others. Do so with humility and kindness. Research the word ‘grace’ and make a decision to act with grace every day in your new role.