I disappointed myself. Twice today.
I am currently in BLC (Basic Leader Course), formerly and more popularly known as WLC (Warrior Leader Course).
For those who aren’t familiar, it is usually a 4-week course that teaches E-4s and E-5s the basics in leadership, training, and war-fighting to better prepare us to be more proficient and competent noncommissioned officers.
Anyhow, today we gave presentations for our Oral History Brief evaluations. I am an avid follower of Army history when it comes to female pioneers. Therefore I was extremely excited to tell the class all about the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps that was established in 1942. It was organized so women could join the US Army in effort to contribute/participate in World War II. I had already read the biography of the WAAC’s first director, Oveta Culp Hobby – mainly because she was born here in Killeen, Texas so her legacy is very apparent to Fort Hooders – and I even have a Warrant Officer in my unit (now retired) who served in the WAAC. So to say the least, I was pretty amped. (Here is the PowerPoint if you want to view it: WAAC)
When my turn came to present my slides, I tensed up and got nervous and retarded. For what reason, I don’t know. It’s not like I am not capable of speaking in front of a classroom (college public speaking classes) and like I don’t have conversations daily with MSGs, SGMs, and LTCs at my job. On top of that, just before I came to BLC, I had given a brief for about an hour to my CSM, OIC, First Sergeants, and other company representatives about the importance of and functions of our Sponsorship program. Zero nervousness.
Bottom line: I am not afraid to speak in front of people, so it baffles me as to why I got anxious once I got in front of the class.
At the end of the day, I did leave the class with a little more knowledge than they had before on how women got started in the Army (we were limited to only 7 minutes maximum to present). But I wish I could have been more boastful about the corps I spoke of…because I am VERY proud of these brave ladies and honored to be serving after them.
Anywho, I quickly got over that as other classmates began to present and other learning events took place. But at the end of the day, our SGLs (Small Group Leaders in the ranks of SSG and SFC) came in and told us about the upcoming end-of-course challenges… YES!!! The moment I have been waiting for! Right?
So there are two challenges – there is the Commandant’s Challenge which is a set of tasks and a questionnaire (not multiple choice) and there is the Leadership Board where you stand before a board of your Student First Sergeant and other Student Platoon Leaders…
Yet, I suddenly began to doubt myself because of my lackluster performance during my Oral History Brief. I thought to myself, “If I couldn’t even present confidently in front of my peers in the classroom, I was sure they wouldn’t nominate me to attend this board.” Some of them did try to nudge me to raise my hand for it, but I chickened out. And I swear to you it wasn’t even three minutes later that I immediately regretted not raising my hand for the Leadership Board…
I had been babbling about this Leadership Board since the beginning of BLC!! I had already created flash cards for it since week one and had since been dabbling here and there in studying for it. What the heck was I thinking not volunteering for tribute! A few people mentioned it to me after the fact… “Hey Sergeant, I thought you said you were wanting to do that board.”
I am not proud of myself. I thought about it on my walk-of-shame from the NCOA barracks to my car in the parking lot. I am NOT the type of person to be nervous or doubt myself or be afraid of anything, especially not a board. Then I thought to myself how I had performed in my promotion board back in July of 2014. I must admit I did a terrible job that day (laughing aloud). But I was so darn confident in my closing remarks that they presented me with my P status anyhow. I really wish I would have just raised my hand for this Leadership Board. I would have been so much more proud of myself for jumping to it and failing it rather than getting scared at the last minute and letting my nervousness from earlier in the day deter me from going for it.
“It’s just a BOARD,” I keep telling myself. I really am beating myself up about it. I won’t stop doing so until BLC is over because I may be a tad bitter at graduation seeing the winner of the board get presented with their award like… “Gee, that could have been me up there.”
Oh, well. My next small goals for BLC will simply be to get 100s on my next few final evaluations which will earn me Commandant’s List for graduation (top 20% GPA). Also, it would be great to be chosen to be the next Student Platoon Sergeant or even the next Student First Sergeant. These are simple leadership positions that I notice a lot of people in my platoon don’t want but that I definitely wouldn’t mind having. I am capable of doing anything that is expected of me as an NCO.
I am capable of doing anything that is expected of me as an NCO.