How I Went From Lost to Leading Thanks to Phi Kappa Theta By Brek Goin (Washington State University, '16)
Honestly, this story was hard for me to write. I have never been one to seek the spotlight, but I want to explain how Phi Kappa Theta positively shaped my journey for the better.
I want to inspire the confidence needed for others to become better leaders personally, professionally and as a brother of Phi Kappa Theta.
In 2011, I immediately moved to San Diego after high school. My goal was to complete two years at a community college and transfer to San Diego State University (SDSU). Let’s just say this is not how things played out.
While living near SDSU’s campus, I started making friends who were truly making the most of their collegiate experience. As my friends joined fraternities, I felt I was missing out on a great experience. They were making new friends, going to campus events, and getting involved. I didn’t want to stand on the sidelines and watch.
Second semester in San Diego, I made the decision to transfer to Washington State University. I chose WSU because of the family and community atmosphere, and felt incredibly welcomed by the "Coug” spirit. I became a proud Coug. I wanted to make new friends and experiences, just like my San Diego friends were doing, so I sought out fraternities to join. Phi Kap immediately stood out because of the brothers. They were well-rounded individuals who seemed to have the perfect amount of respect for their education and experiences. "Work hard play hard” was the phrase.
But my first two years as a brother turned out to be a little different than I originally expected. I was seeking balance, but all of my previous values became influenced by socially driven decisions. It seemed as if I became sucked into the social vortex. We were playing harder than we were working. It was becoming detrimental to my personal development and I felt incredibly lost. I started to realize there was a large contradiction of who I wanted to be and who everyone else wanted me to be. My decisions were not reflecting my internal aspirations.
I became unhappy with where I was going. I needed a sense of purpose. I needed direction. I had large aspirations but I felt lost. I needed Phi Kappa Theta more than ever.
Junior year I decided to attend my first Regional Leadership Conference (RLC) in San Diego, simply because I missed paradise. Little did I know, this trip would gradually change my life.
Image: Brek (far left) at the 2015 Western RLC in San Diego.
After attending my first RLC, I was truly inspired to develop myself as leader. Meeting other individuals that had similar aspirations was empowering. I felt as if a nearly found a new fraternity – the national Fraternity. I came back with fire in my soul and determination to become a major chapter leader.
My first leadership conference introduced me to the person I have always desired to become - myself. My junior year introduced me to a personal "180.” This year became a fundamental transformation for me personally, professionally, and as a brother. I decided to make a change. I was on a mission to persistently chase purpose and leadership. I stumbled but I never looked back. Phi Kap was always there to keep pushing forward.
When the fraternity helped me pivot, I became incredibly confident that it would offer direction towards fulfillment, through value, purpose and passion. After attending more regional and national Phi Kappa Theta conferences, I started getting a taste of what it truly means to be a part of something greater than myself. The creation of relationships, emotions, experiences and value continuously inspired me to stay involved with the fraternity. I was finding purpose by exercising my potential and leadership capabilities. In my last two years at WSU, I quickly understood that if I were going to be a part of an organization during the most important years of my life, I would only strive to make a positive impact for my brothers.
Looking back, I feel like the Fraternity gave me more direction as I became more involved. I was learning from leaders that were making a positive impact on the world and I became incredibly determined to listen and learn from them. I felt like it was my turn to make a positive impact on the world.
Image: Brek (left) with Speaker and Brother, Sean Stephenson (right) at the 2016 Quo Vadis in Phoenix, AZ.
I’m sharing this story to help my brothers and give them hope. To realize they are only one decision away from becoming the person and leader they so desperately desire to be. No matter where you are or the choices you are currently making, a better future is predicated on your ability to make that one decision to change. Sometimes these decisions are difficult to make, but in order to become a leader you must make a decision. Then you will find direction. When you find direction you can help lead others. When you lead others you become a servant leader. When you become a servant leader you are Phi Kappa Theta.
I was uneasy with the forecast of my future. I made a decision to change and Phi Kap helped guide me in the right direction. The Fraternity helped develop me from lost to leading. If I can do it, you can too.
Image: Brek (3rd from left) with with his chapter after having won the Founders' Cup at the 2015 Biennial Convention in Lexington, KY.
After graduation I made the decision to fully commit on a project I was exploring my senior year. Now that I have consistently listened and learned from various leaders, it has given me the ability, passion, confidence and direction to start my own company. Phi Kap has helped me identify the necessary principles to become a leader. I will continuously carry our values and principles to help ensure that I am creating a company that can actively serve our Mission.
The desire to help others is what truly inspires me to become the best version of myself and as servant leader. Phi Kappa Theta has developed me into the individual I needed to be. Without the Fraternity I would not be the person I am today.
I want to sincerely thank Phi Kappa Theta for endless opportunities of growth and continuously developing me into the man I want to become. I am incredibly thankful that just one organization and one brotherhood can be the difference in a more prosperous future.
Your decisions will always determine your future. Are you making the right ones?