Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Book Review: "Scarcity"

Wow, do I have a lot of stuff. I’m not talking nice stuff, I’m talking about crap. The problem is I think it is multiplying.

About this time of year (every year), I’m stuck inside the house because the perma-cloud cover we enjoy in Illinois is locked in and I get a chance to look at it while I count the days until spring. I thought that I had thrown out much of my junk over the last few years, but as I was staring at the walls this winter, I barely made a dent.

In particular, I am noticing how much stuff I have bought for my kids. Much of it trying to sooth the pain of their parents going through a divorce, much of it to make me feel less guilty about them having to go through that as well, and much of it because I love to watch them smile. All not necessarily the best reasons to buy things. The problem is that they smile for about 4.2 days and then the stuff becomes stuff. (Cue the George Carlin skit – look it up on Google). I’ve become more committed to having experiences with my children and for myself this year and do without so much. I wish they had weed killer for stuff. Maybe that would help. 

I share this with you because I’ve been thinking a lot about how having too much causes me to enjoy things less because I keep looking for the buzz of a new pair of running shoes, a new sweatshirt, etc. Then, I get clear about the privilege I have to be able to get that stuff and it really hits home about what do I actually need to be happy and what is just a waste. Many people are not in the same position as I am and are far more happier than I am…with less to worry about. Stuff does not equal happy. Having more does not necessarily equal happy. Maybe, having less makes me appreciate what I have even more.

I’ve been reading a book titled “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” which has really brought it all home to me. Brought home the socio-economic privelege that I carry with me and how I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t bring you happiness. It gives you a quick fix. My good friend Kristin Skarie speaks about this often and is such a role model for trying to experience more with less. The book brings about a macro view of scarcity and what it means in the world. If you need a change in perspective regarding the perceived “need” vs. “want” then I would highly recommend you pick up the book. 

Even better, pick it up from the library and make sure you bring it back.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Life of a Dream Director: Vincent Thurman

Central Michigan University LeaderShape Institute graduate Vincent Thurman is working as a Dream Director for The Future Project. After learning about his experience, we asked if he'd share it with the rest of the LeaderShape community. Enjoy!

The Future Project is creating a movement to inspire young people to create their dreams every single day! We believe that it will be our young people who change the world by turning their dreams into bold actions that make life better for everyone! As an organization we strive to inspire and empower young people to create future projects; projects that students develop based on their passions, goals, and dreams! Inspiration and creativity are in high supply when students are given the space to express themselves. We do this by bringing Dream Directors into high schools. As a Dream Director, I work hand-in-hand with students, principals, teachers, and communities to develop a sense of belief in what can happen when we live out our passions and dreams daily.

So what do I do as a Dream Director? I work closely with a group of students to transform the culture
of a high school. Not only do I get to work with amazing students, but also I get to work in a place that gave me so much. I work at my old high school, Communication and Media Arts High School (CMA) in Detroit. As a student here, I learned so much, and now as a Dream Director, I get to give back and inspire the next generation of students. It’s feels like the twilight zone accompanied by excitement and newness. My work with students has been truly amazing. I’ve learn so much from them already, and their passions grow each and every single day. I think back to my fourth night at LeaderShape. I believe it was Bringing Vision to Reality. At the end of that day, I felt my life change. I couldn’t stop talking. I couldn’t stop thinking. I had so much energy. I ended up staying up until four or five in the morning thinking so much about what happened and how it happened and so much more. I see my students experience this every single day! I’ve learned that by simply creating an environment in which people can think about their dreams and their passions, and then using that space to help them cultivate tangible manifestations of that passion is life changing! I watch my students learn and grow in leaps in bounds.

Thus far, one of the most influential parts of my experience has been Dream Con. Dream Con was a two-day Dreamers Convention that all students involved with The Future Project get to attend expense free in New York City. Not only would this be my first time to New York, but it was my students first time as well. It was also their first time flying on a plane. Our excitement levels were off the charts! At Dream Con, students from around the country shared stories of struggle, success, doubt, failure, excitement, inspiration, and empowerment! Leaving Dream Con, I felt a great sense of gratitude, excitement, calmness, and belief in what could happen after we left this place. I saw nearly 700 strangers become a family through stories, projects, and a passion to make life better for everyone. Although it is a shared theme for LeaderShape and The Future Project, on thing I had to be reminded of is that we have to live in the possibilities. For me, Dream Con has inspired me to start living in possibility again, and doing so intentionally with focus and passion! Since Dream Con, my team and I have developed projects that focus on self-esteem, building a positive school culture, physical transformation to the school and much more. By March, we’ll have several projects completed and we’ll be preparing to expand the Dream Team. Being a Dream Director involves a lot of things, but at out core we live in the possibility of a better world created through partnerships with passionate, young people. There’s nothing like it!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

#DAY7: The Power of One

On the days that I feel a little lost, discouraged, and overwhelmed with the world, I find this video brings me hope, comfort, and sense of purpose. 

What about when you need to get out from under similar feelings? What books, poems, blogs, videos, music give you the boost you need to keep on going? Share links to your "go-tos" in the comments section.