Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Cluster Facilitator "Thank You"

On Day 6 of LeaderShape, as the program wraps up, they ask the cluster facilitators to say a few words. All I could get out was “Thank you”. It was such a small statement that carried so much meaning. I am pleased to have the opportunity to share what exactly I meant by “Thank you”.

Thank you to the LeaderShape staff for believing in me and giving me a chance. I knew I wanted the opportunity. I wanted it bad. As a LeaderShape graduate, the organization’s concepts and ideals became a part of who I am. I aim to be LeaderShape everyday. I wanted to be a part of growing the LeaderShape community and watch the process unfold for a new group of participants. Thank you for providing that opportunity and supporting the faculty along the way.

Thank you to the process for showing me I was mistaken. As a cluster facilitator, I approached the experience as if I was on the outside looking in. I was excited about the upcoming six days of empowering the LeaderShape participants and observing raw emotion, strength, self-discovery, turning points, creativity and more.  I quickly understood this was not an experience only about the participants.  LeaderShape is about the community it creates and that community included me. At first, I felt guilty for gaining so much from the experience as it progressed. It wasn’t designed for me. I already had my LeaderShape experience.

It turns out, six years after my first LeaderShape experience, the process still continues.

I found that my contributions were greater once I allowed myself to join the process.  Thanks again to the process for showing me that LeaderShape is designed for all involved.

Thank you to my family cluster for accepting LeaderShape into your lives. LeaderShape happens in different ways for different people and it was inspiring to see how LeaderShape fit into each one of your lives.  It is difficult for me to put our experience into words, but I think, overall, our family cluster theme was a message of hope. We pushed each other to dream big, ask critical questions, encourage, celebrate differences, truly listen, grow confidence, live authentically and we laughed…a lot. I adored our intimate cluster time, but I think I enjoyed seeing our cluster intermingle amongst the at-large community even more. The community was better because of the ten of you.

Monarch Family Cluster
(Litsa is top center)

 Thank you to the LeaderShape faculty for exemplifying the greatest example of synergy.  What a group. We had it all.  This was the group that helped me re-examine how LeaderShape fits into my life and held me accountable throughout the process. Together, we utilized our talents and strengthened our weaknesses. We had honest dialogue about the curriculum, the community and ourselves.

You see, LeaderShape has this special charm about it. Somehow, in no time, you feel like you have created a new home. You peel away all the layers and examine your core. Those defining moments happen at different times for each person. Some people don’t realize when it happens. But it happens.

And then it’s over.

Although, LeaderShape challenges that.

Thank you to Day 7 for empowering the LeaderShape community to adopt a lifestyle of integrity. The most important day of the process is Day 7---each day following the LeaderShape experience. To get the most of the experience, the LeaderShape community must sustain the visions, goals and gags. Day 7 is about sharing LeaderShape with the world. And just like the LeaderShape week, Day 7 is a process.  The toughest part about Day 7 is living LeaderShape in a world that doesn’t entirely “get it”; the greatest part about Day 7 is the 49604 people that do. Whether you have directly experienced LeaderShape with someone or, by chance, realize you have LeaderShape in common, all you have to say is “LeaderShape” and you share an understanding and respect. The LeaderShape community is what makes Day 7 possible.

A larger LeaderShape community means more possibilities for Day 7.  It means more people will be living and leading with integrity ® and having a healthy disregard for the impossible ®. It means more visions will transform to realities. Growing the LeaderShape community will change the world.

Thank you to the potential members of the LeaderShape community. When I returned home from serving as a cluster facilitator, I continued to reflect on the concept of possibility. I have a vision that LeaderShape is a possibility for everyone.
At the conclusion of serving as a cluster facilitator, my priority for Day 7 was to join the Pebble Club. The Pebble Club is designed create possibility for the future LeaderShape community. The future LeaderShape community is what inspires me today.

Thank you.

Litsa Eileen Orban

Litsa currently works at the University of Alabama and has been involved with The LeaderShape Institute as a Participant ('06), On Site Coordinator ('07), and as a Cluster Facilitator ('12). Thank You to Litsa for sharing this post with us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 7: Your Big "But"

At the LeaderShape Institute, participants are challenged to think about what is really, truly, deeply important to them and then work towards creating a plan to impact the passion that was identified.

A plan like this includes setting goals (we call them stretch goals and manageable goals) and sometimes a big “but” can get in the way of making progress on our goals.

What do we do about our big “but” then? How can we overcome it and continue working towards creating a just, caring, and thriving world? A world where your vision can become a reality?

1)    Identify. What is your “but” – the thing (or things) that is keeping you from moving forward on a particular goal? It can be helpful to make a list of these competing responsibilities and set priorities.
2)    Evaluate. Can you turn your “but” into an “and”? By thinking in terms of “and” (I can do this and that) we are able to consider what is possible.
3)    Act. Start something now. Do something – anything – that can help move you to action. Even a seemingly small act can set forth an avalanche of productivity!
4)    Stick to it. There are a lot of distractions in our lives. Developing strategies to stay on task can enable you to use your time doing the work that is most important to you. Set alarms, create reminders, leave yourself motivating notes, enlist others to check in on your progress…whatever it takes to move forward on your goals.

What is LeaderShape?

Paul Stoddard reflects on his experience as a Cluster Facilitator in 2012. We hope you enjoy learning what the week was like for him.

There really aren’t that many experiences in a typical lifetime that change the way you think.   Just a few, here and there.  If you’re lucky.  Events and experiences that incite changes in the way you think or act or perceive just don’t happen that often.   People talk a lot about changing the way they think and they think a lot about changing the way they think.  But, they usually don’t change.  LeaderShape was one of those relatively rare events in my life that caused me to change how I think, led me to change how I think, and let me change how I think.

I went into LeaderShape relatively unaware of what I was getting into and relatively naive about the whole LeaderShape “thing”.  I really didn’t know much about what to expect.  And that wasn’t a bad way to go into it at all. 

Everyone’s experience of LeaderShape is bound to be a little different than anyone else’s and everyone’s experience is somewhat unique. 

For me, LeaderShape was a Week of Surprises:  surprises about the depth at which strangers can connect, surprises about the way that being pushed outside your comfort zone will trigger new attitudes and a rebirth of thought, surprises about myself, surprises about my team, surprises about how group dynamics can evolve and coalesce in such a very short time.

For me, LeaderShape was a Week of Awakening:  awakening in myself, marvelous and palpable awakenings in others, awakening of a fluid and blossoming group dynamic in my team, and awakening of new levels of awareness about others.

For me, LeaderShape was a Week of Learning: learning that leading is action, learning that leading is a choice, learning that leading is an attitude, learning that leading is about pushing past boundaries, learning that leading sometimes means loving enough to push someone to think differently, learning that leading is about stepping up, learning that leading isn’t about me but it has to start with me, and learning that leading is about throwing out your old ideas about what’s possible.

Are you thinking about LeaderShape? Cast off your cocoon and check it out!

We are currently accepting applications for Cluster Facilitators for the 2013 national sessions of The LeaderShape Institute.