How Good Do You Want to Be?

[RING OF PHIRE: The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.]

by Amelia Mieth (Ring of Phire Member)

It’s been a while since I’ve written a book report for school, so when given the opportunity to share what I’ve been reading, obviously I will jump at the chance. I am a huge proponent of reading, and was extremely excited when Phired Up came out with a “Summer Reading List” earlier in May. However, while perusing my local bookstore this It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Booksummer, I came across a book that caught my eye. In flipping through only a couple of pages, I immediately was sold. After reading the book about five times now, I’ve come to the conclusion that this should be on the “School Year Reading List” sponsored by the Ring of Phire (There is no such thing, but if you do want suggestions, e-mail me!).

The book I want to share is entitled It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden.  This book, written by an advertising manager in New York City, is about the creative process of advertising and how it can relate to successful businesses. Well, I interpreted some of these lessons as the process of recruitment and development in order to create a successful organization, fraternity, or sorority. I am sure that everyone is busy with academic textbooks, organizations, work, and just life in general, but hear me out – this book is a quick read, no more than an hour, with a simple design, minimal words on each page, and even pictures (a nice break from college textbooks). However, if you don’t have time to read it, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite points from the book below.

• Excellence vs. Mediocrity: Why would one choose to be excellent in a world where it’s o.k. to be in the middle?  This is pretty much the backbone of Social Excellence. Sure, we can get away with just getting by, but where is the fun in that? Be challenged. Strive to be better.

• Debrief: Chances are you have just completed recruitment (or some other major organizational effort) – congratulations! Now is the time to not only highlight what went well, but more importantly, look at what didn’t go so well. How can you improve upon this? Ask those who were involved in the program, or who participated in it, “How can this be better?”  We all think that our work is golden, so we aren’t in any place to criticize it, but you can’t improve unless you look critically at what was effective and what wasn’t.  (Involve your advisors… this is their job!)

• “Don’t give a speech, put on a show”:  This was a shorter part of the book that explained, well, exactly what it says. People get bored listening to words all day. It’s time to skip the tell, and move straight to show. If you’re trying to get some more new members, and your fraternity is awesome at intramurals, invite them to come play with you. Does your sorority do community service every week? Invite friends along. Show them what you can do. As the old adage says, actions speak louder than words.

• Make your organization GREAT:  Not just good. GREAT. This section of the book basically has a step-by-step outline for how your members can begin to take pride in the group and make it something to remember. I won’t give away all of the details (where’s the fun in that?), but I will give you some hints: talk up your organization, behave how you would want your organization to be perceived (“like a winner”), and decide to be GREAT. Make the difference.

My intentions weren’t to write a book report about recruitment and social excellence, but I think that is where I have been led. Being socially excellent is a choice that we all have – it’s something we are, or we aren’t, simple as that. But that “simple” choice can have amazing results. So, I’ll leave you with this – how good do YOU want to be?

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