Being a Protegee Solved My Leadership Phobia

Reffi Dhinar
Light Mind
Published in
3 min readOct 9, 2023

There was a time that I saw Leadership as like a superstition

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

When I listened to the word ‘Leadership’, I felt like it was a skill that I would have never been mastered. It almost became a superstition in my mindset. And without even thinking, Leadership started to change as a phobia.

thought that leadership was only related to leading others, becoming a boss or a leader. It needs a big responsibility to lead a small team, what else the big one. How hard I tried to learn or practice, there was a big stone in my heart and mind to understand it. Why? I didn’t know at the first time.

The First Trigger

One day, my homeroom teacher in secondary high school said to me. “Reffi, you will become a student representative for our class to participate in the Student Council’s Presidential election. So, prepare yourself.”

I couldn’t say No. All of my classmates agreed with my teacher’s decision. The election process was like a mini President Election. Every class’ representative should make their vision and mission clear. I passed the first preliminary interview, then the final round was making the campaign.

My friends really supported me and they were happy because I could become the Top 4 after the interview. They made the campaign team and made some posters to support me. I was appalled when some students from other classes asked me, “Can you speak Spanish? I read on your campaign poster that you can speak English, Japanese, and Spanish.”

Oh, My, God. I didn’t check the posters because I was busy with my program and my learning schedule was very tight. I also got a scholarship from my village, so there were too many things on my plate. I told to them that I could speak English on a conversational basis, and was still learning Japanese in a course, but I had not studied anything about Spanish. I was ashamed because it felt like I lied about my capability. I came to my class and asked my classmates to revise the posters.

Years after, I was chosen as the Event Chief Committee in my faculty. Honestly, I was chosen because my classmates thought that I had the best rank in our class for some semesters and there wasn’t another suitable volunteer to do it. I was reminded of my experience in the Student Council election. And, yes, the worst thing blew up. My event was almost ruined by my indecisive acts. I had a trust issue with my team. Fortunately, my team worked hard and we could run it without terrible issues. However, I cried after the event ended and I apologized to my team.

The Wake Up Moment

After I graduated from my university, I got a wake-up call. I knew that if I wanted to survive in the company, I should grow my leadership skill. I should handle my phobia. I read the self-development books extensively.

Then in 2019, I found Upgrade Learning Instagram account. They provided the self-development workshop series, including Leadership. I joined in the classes and practised religiously as a protegee. I asked a lot of questions and started to think about Wordholic Class.

I wanted to build my writing class or community. So, I need to learn how to be a trustworthy leader. It was a painful process to deal with my trauma about being a leader. My dream was bigger than my phobia. My mentor helped me with the useful tools to forgive my past, accept my flaws, and rebuild myself. I could be a leader by inspiring others. I changed the way I saw leadership.

This year, the Wordholic Class turns four. I also have my small freelancer team who say, “We love to be coached with you.” Since 2021, I have had private clients who have learned about writing and mindset shifting with me. Therefore, I recommend you look for a mentor when you find a dead end in your dream or join Toastmasters because it encourages the mentoring system.