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An Analysis of a Personal Narrative (Term Paper Sample)


This is creative writing of who the client is based on what has happened to them and what they have chosen to focus on and achieve to identity their values, strengths, passions and leadership development needs. This paper shows the connection between events in the client's story, describes their values and passions and explains how they became who they are.


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Personal Narrative Analysis
So far, my life story is like a rainbow, and it has all the colours in it with ups and downs and some very defining moments that have shaped me to become the person I am today. Although I have little memories of it, for two earlier years of my childhood, I was raised in Wellington town in East-Central New South Wales, Australia, before my family decided to relocate to Melbourne since my father got a job transfer. I was too busy being a 2-year-old to build any worthwhile memory then. I am lucky enough to have supportive and liberal parents who have always inspired me to rise into a strong independent person as the only way to survive the harsh realities of life. This is an authentic personal narrative of the episodes in my life that have defined my character and served as antecedents of authentic leadership. According to Gardner et al. (2005), authenticity entails embracing one's personal experiences, including thoughts, values, beliefs, and emotions. Authentic leadership stems from self-awareness, self-acceptance, genuine relationships, and actions.
Childhood Experiences
After my family moved to Melbourne, my mother took a cashier job at a small store to assist my father with the bills. I enjoyed the privileges a typical child would have in an upper-middle-class family. As I turned five, I became more self-aware of my passions, interests, and the things that made me feel alive and active. I used to scribble down my dreams in a secret diary, and one of those dreams was becoming a teacher. I remember coming home from school and writing what I had learned in English or history class, then create imaginary students in my mind then interrogate and grade them. I firmly believe the leadership qualities portrayed by most of the teachers I interacted with reflected the person I wanted to become. The teachers were non-threatening, trustworthy, open to all students' ideas non-judgementally, were sensitive to the different capabilities and backgrounds, yet remained firm in their actions and decisions. I consider my primary school teachers as my first mentors on the journey towards authentic leadership.
Leadership Development Process
Turner and Mavin (2008) stress the essence of a leadership development process inspired by individual life experiences rather than scripted leadership qualities and outcomes, and I have had a fair share of life experiences. The influence of family plays a vital role in developing leadership qualities in an individual. My father has always motivated me that the sky belongs to one, and I should always strive to excel in everything I do, including my studies. This inspired me to work hard in school to be among the top students in school. I chose to be the head and not the tail in my primary school years. According to Ryan and Deci (2000), people are moved by various factors to act, such as strong coercion like a bribe, anticipated positive outcomes, external inspirations, and sometimes individual interests and values. For me, it was a case of extrinsic inspiration and self-motivation.
To achieve my goal of leading in class, I realised that I needed my teachers, family, and classmates as learning facilitators. I learned from my teachers that to lead, I needed to consider other people's perspectives and inputs. Throughout my primary school life, I would not miss the list of best-performing students, and the joy it brought my family made me more self-determined. Self-determination theory suggests that individuals are inspired to grow and evolve by three innate and psychological needs, i.e., connection, autonomy, and competence (Ryan and Deci, 2000). I was determined to strengthen the bond between my family and myself through academic prowess and be an autonomous person like my parents encouraged me. However, towards the end of grade six, my father lost his job, and he had used up his savings to secure us an apartment in Melbourne. My mother had to take care of bills by herself, which caused constant disagreements between her and my father. My father was at his lowest point, and his situation distracted my determination with my fear of growing up in a dysfunctional family heightening.
Seeing my family in the situation we were in made me lose confidence in myself, and I struggled with esteem issues even as I interacted with other students in school. I lost my focus for a while, and the self-determination that I had was gradually fading. However, my father being sensitive, noticed the path I had taken and engaged me more often in conversations that helped me open up on what I was going through. I had begun developing antisocial behaviour and distanced myself from friends because of the fear of how they would perceive me since I couldn't afford particular necessities. Those were my weakest points. To distract myself from reality, I developed an interest in chess that I would play with my father. I learnt to develop my leadership skills through the game before I needed them since chess requires developing the pieces early. I also learnt to manage my emotions, win and lose with grace, and, more importantly, move with purpose and plan. Even though my family was going through a difficult time, I had to make rational decisions and prevent the demise of my beliefs by managing my emotions.
Although my parents had constant arguments when my father lost his job, I admired how my father managed to lead the family and made important decisions like selling our family van to salvage the family's financial crisis. My father used the money to start a small, fast food joint that would later grow into a restaurant. He anticipated what lay ahead, thought of a way out in real-time, learned from experience, and improved himself through the crucial decisions he made during a crisis to lead the family. Furthermore, my father made himself vulnerable by admitting how losing his job had weighed him down, and that to me was an element of authentic leadership that made sense later in my life. According to Shamir and Eilam (2005), an authentic leader does not have to use the term 'leader' to define himself since a leader's role is reflected on their self-concept. Also, an authentic leader can serve as a role model to his followers. For example, my father being transparent about his financial situation and exposing his vulnerability built trust and encouraged me to be transparent.
I have always believed I can create a future, which is not defined by the past or the present through continuous self-improvement. I also believe in persistence and not allowing any situation to push me to the point of giving up. However, during my weak point, my patience was tried, and I became more aware of my strengths. Roberts et al. (2005) argue that nurturing strengths and leveraging natural skills is more beneficial than correcting weaknesses. The reflected best self (RBS) exercise is good for identifying what someone is good at. I learnt that I possess a resilient spirit and a foundation in solving problems. I have also developed adaptability to cope with difficult situations that would require me to make tough decisions and vision to stay focused on my passions regardless of circumstances. With my parents' help, I have developed a positive outlook on life, approach challenges with enthusiasm, and focus more on my passions.
I am passionate about self-improvement by participating in activities that give me a sense of fulfilment and impact others, such as volunteer work. Through my low moments, I developed a passion for uplifting others since I saw the power in it. Empathy is an investment that often pays back in the form of contentment, happiness, and wellbeing. According to Goffee and Jones (2000), an authentic leader should be empathetic by giving people what they need yet remain realistic. Moreover, an authentic leader builds on what is unique about oneself by exposing their unique qualities. I am also passionate about making a difference in society, and I trust that I can make the world better. I still have the enthusiasm of being a teacher, although not necessarily in a classroom setting but as a leader guiding my followers on exploiting their potentials and nurturing their talents. Followership is a vital element of the authentic leadership development process since it shapes authentic followership for positive development and outcomes (Gardner et al., 2005).
Leadership Development Needs
In high school, I had the opportunity to join the history club, where my organisational and professional identities were put to the test. We engaged in various activities, including mock voter registration, election judging, and role-playing conventions. I started as an organising secretary to take minutes during meetings, organise and communicate club activities, meetings, and events. Since club members relied on me to store and retrieve information, I needed strong organisational skills and a sense of professionalism, such as respect and courtesy. Later the club members voted me as the vice-chair, which came with more responsibilities since I no longer relied on anyone to make decisions. I honed my problem-solving skills to execute my duties. A vice-chair's role required much more competence than the organising secretary role, and through the respective roles, I discovered my leadership development needs. According to George et al. (2007), an authentic leader's style should reflect their characters and personalities, with authenticity being the most significant leadership style. Authenticity is acknowledging weaknesses while capitalising on strengths.

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