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April Jeppson: It’s possible to be a fun person and a leader

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

“It’s because you’re an alpha” is what he said to me.

April Jeppson

I laughed and said, “I’m too nice to be an alpha.”

The guy that told me this wasn’t trying to be funny — he was looking me straight in the eyes and solving a problem I’ve been dealing with lately. The way I talk to people, the way I handle situations, the way I call people out on their funny business. I see a problem, and I jump in and fix it.

That night as I sat around the dinner table with my parents and my husband, I told them about my day. I laughed and said someone called me an alpha today. Almost in unison the three of them nodded and looked at me as if this wasn’t even a surprise. Then for the next few minutes I had to listen to them tell me all these situations growing up where it was obvious to them that I in fact was someone who took charge and got stuff done. So apparently, I was the only one who didn’t see it

I like hot pink and glitter. Butterflies are my favorite. Ideally, I’d live in a world with a barter system where I would give a haircut in exchange for dinner. I see myself as a peace-seeking, laidback lover of life. Even the word alpha throws me off. It conjures up harsh images of someone who is bossy, mean and no fun. I have alpha friends and they are awesome, but I’m too chill to be that way.

But here’s the deal. I am that way — if I need to be. I want to lay in the grass and look at the stars and dream about all the possibilities. But I also have the strong desire to take charge and make things happen. It drives me bananas when capable people don’t take charge of the situation and get things done.

I’ve never understood why people listen to me or do what I ask them. I assumed it’s because I was a nice person and they wanted to help. And maybe that is still part of it. It’s possible that I can be a fun person and a leader. I can love bright colors and know my self worth. I can be more than one thing and I am. We all are. In fact I’d argue that we’re multiple things, either at once or throughout the day.

In any given day I’m a loving mom who enjoys snuggling. A firm parent who lays down the law. A hard worker who gets things done. A frustrated employee who wants to do things a different way. A strong leader who gathers the students. A fun-loving friend who plays her music loud. A tired woman who dreams about taking a nap and a hungry wife who just wants a quiet dinner alone with my husband.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting older. Learning about myself and seeing how awesome and yet flawed I am. And I’m OK with that. 

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.