Leaders Fighting Demons


Today was quite the hike. Having only 2 hours of sleep and waking up early in the morning to embark in a journey to higher altitudes that took around 9 hours to do was definitely not an easy day. The car ride was fun due to the fact that I was kicking Ramsey’s butt in every card game and seeing him rage. The food was great and overall I had no problems with my belly or bathroom. Bryan gave me the nickname “Two” due to the fact that I was constantly asking about the bathroom situation when we go on our trek. In my humble opinion, I think it’s a sick nickname since it reminds me of Eleven from “Stranger Things”, but the only problem was that it was really Thomas Lee fighting demons that day instead of me. Once we reached the Hanifl center is when I truly felt at ease. It was still surreal to me knowing that I AM IN INDIA. Being high in altitude and breathing mountain air was refreshing. After dinner we went on a short hike and oh lord did I think my legs were going to give up. This was a wake up call knowing that if I was struggling on this, I would struggle on the 10 day trek.

Some cultural challenge I anticipated entering India and learning about leadership was the communication aspect. Since I am in a completely different country with different sets of rules was definitely eye-opening for me. Some examples I knew prior to entering the country were the Indian head nod and the ways the Indians negotiated versus how the Americans did it. After entering the country everything left me in awe ranging from the bathroom situation to the way traffic was handled. I found it very interesting how the Indians would honk in order to communicate to other drivers about them wanting to merge or go a certain direction. While we were rising through the mountain our driver would honk in order to indicate to the drivers coming towards us that a big bus was coming. I learned that drivers in India are quite skilled and they could probably beat Rainbow Road mirror mode. I found this quite interesting because in America, honking typically means curse words to the opposite side.

From my experience, a leader is made. Yes, there are traits that a model leader is born with such as physical aspects, but most of the characteristics that come from a leader would be through experience. A leader is created from watching other leaders in action, how they were raised, and how their personality suits them in a social setting. Leaders are constantly being improved and adjusted to their surroundings.

I think the hardest thing about being a leader would be conflict in personalities. The truth is you cannot get along with every single person you meet, and there are some people that are just the complete opposite of you. The best way to manage that would be to learn to accept and adapt. You want to know how I got these scars? As a leader, you need to know what the employee likes and does not like and be mindful of any sensitive spots. Another challenging part of being a leader is making the hard decisions or making decisions that you might not be sure about and having no one higher up to depend on certain situations. I recall a time during my internship during the summer when a higher-up put me on a call for me to witness him “laying off” my manager. He explained how my manager’s branch was not performing well and that it would be better to merge this branch with another. After experiencing that I put myself in those shoes thinking what would I do, and how would I go about it. It gave me doubt in my abilities to being a leader because a leader is an individual that can make calculated decisions in the moment, and sometimes I am not sure if I can do that. Hopefully, throughout this journey in the Himalayas will teach me what to do.