The Institute – A Reflection on LeaderShape

How lucky I am to have shared such intimate moments with people who personify authenticity and act courageously. LeaderShape – noun meaning life-changing, inspiring, transformative, empowering, challenging, reflective, and ongoing. To spend six days with students seeking to discover the true desires of their hearts, while striving to positively influence the world with their actions is a privilege. To be challenged in the best ways and to be responsible for cultivating an environment for others to journey to their best selves is an honor.

Together, we explored uncertain places, asked questions with shrouded answers, and challenged one another to look at ourselves honestly. We revealed the truth of who we are. We were asked to determine whether or not we must change. Am I a good listener? Have I manipulated situations in my favor at the cost of other’s well-being? Am I blind to the experiences of others and if so, how can I make the world better if I don’t know how to help? What can I do? Who can I support? Who can support me? How do we solve issues that affect our world? What is my passion and how do I use it to make a just, caring, and thriving world?

The process was and will always be messy. It required us to stretch ourselves beyond what we believed possible. Inhibitors were removed by tiredness, authenticity, trust, community, direction, and intentional action. Day after day, our masks were wiped away in order for our truest selves to show up. Vulnerability. When we opened up, we invited others to do the same; not out of competition, but out of the great desire to discover what we truly feel, believe, know, understand, and question. The worry of judgment faded away as we genuinely shared who we are. After all the barriers disappeared, we became open to great change and self-exploration.

In past blogs, I’ve cited LeaderShape as a program that helped determined the trajectory of my life. The past week has reinforced this belief because I witnessed new ideas manifest into visions for a better world. One of the harmonious sounds projected by our collective voice is that the world MUST change for the better and that collective action will produce this change. I left more inspired to empower others to find their path. I left reinvigorated to make a specific difference in the world. I left humbled by the commitment to make positive change in our world. 120 students. 22 professional staff members. 1 mission – To create a more just, caring, and thriving world. Thank you to all who were part of this LeaderShape Institute experiences.

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