Monday, January 5, 2009

Leadershape: Day 2

HELLO and welcome back!!! I trust most of us are back in the swing of things and returning to normal schedules after weeks of vacation. Don't ever do that again. Don't leave us for so many days, unable to check in and share in our community. We missed you.

Now that you're back, I'm gone. Last Friday I left for Edinburg, Texas (8.5 hours from Dallas - and yes, still in Texas). I will be here for a week facilitating a session of Leadershape. For those who were around in May, when I facilitated another session in Austin, you might remember me talking about this worthwhile organization. Leadershape is a national program designed to help college students enhance their leadership capacity, while underscoring the importance of leading with integrity. It is a solid week of 16-hour work days, crazy sleeping conditions (more on that later), bugs, bugs, and more bugs, but countered with a terrific faculty and 54 motivated students.

Eight-five percent of the student population at University of Texas- Pan American is Hispanic, so you know my week will be filled with lots of "ahas". I've already learned: how little I really learned in high school Spanish; Mexican food at On the Border really isn't Mexican food at all; and 8.5 hours - even if you are in the same state - can seem like a world away. I'm loving it. And, have I mentioned there are palm trees and that it was 87 degrees today?

But onto the real topic at hand. Creativity and community. I left Dallas with bags packed, but no real idea what I would write about for the week. I could write about my experience here, but I did that last May (5-10, if you want to check it out) and highlowaha promises never to repeat the same idea twice.

I could write about what I saw in the dollar bin at Target yesterday, when I stopped in to buy a soap dish, flip flops, an egg mattress, a hanger, and a cup from which to drink. But, we're not ready to jump into Valentine's Day quite yet. Besides, I'd feel compelled to tell you about why I was buying those things and not enough time has passed yet to make it funny. You'll have to wait. I could talk about fun items on the desk of the nice intern who is letting me use her computer (still no Internet). She has lots of fun pictures attached to her bulletin board, presents sitting on her floor left over from a Christmas Adopt an Angel Program, raffle tickets, t-shirts, and candy. All typical items for someone working in Student Affairs.

The small speaker, sitting in front of me, and connected to her computer has the brand name "Creative." That seems to have potential, but hmmmmm.... not quite enough to go with. Speakers broadcast, but what would I broadcast?

Wait. I see something.

O.k. I'm back. It's perfect. Like all good Student Affairs practitioners, Jodie has a quote jar on her shelf.

I randomly selected three quotes and so... maybe we can get creative interpreting what one - or all three - quotes means to us. Are you game? This seems especially poignant, since many of our community members are entering the new year with varying levels of energy and excitement, as well as varying emotions.

Here they are:
  • Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love. -David McCullough

  • Happiness is not a matter of events; it depends upon the tides of the mind. - Alice Meynell

  • If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy. -Anonymous

Two more things pertinent to this activity and then I'll sign off, so I can get back to the business of shaping your minds.

First, when I was in college I found a company called, "The Edge Institute." I have NO idea if they are still in business, but while they were I bought a box of 365 quotes called, "Unlocking Your Potential." Each quote came on a small card whose cover had to be popped open. I bought a box and vowed, for one year, that I would open one card a day and force myself to figure out how that day's quote was relevant to my life. I'd put the card in my pocket and carry it around for the day, serving as a reminder of what lesson I had learned. I gave a box to the guy I was dating at the time and he recently called me to tell me he still had the box and that he still hasn't opened them all (20 years ago). I guess he is pacing himself! Maybe today one of the quotes I've posted will feel fated to have come your way.

Second, it just so happens that we ended last night's session talking about the importance of introspection to our development as leaders. It seems fitting then that we should begin this day, then, with a little introspection of our own. We are, after all, leaders in our own right.

Play along with me by responding to one of the three quotes and I'll play along with you. Have a topic you want to hear about this week? Let me know and I'll stretch my own creativity to deliver something on the topic. Don't have a topic, but you want to throw me a word, a concept, a number, or some other random piece of information? Go ahead. It will be a good exercise in stretching my creativity and it will make the week extra fun.

Signing off until tomorrow...

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