Day 7: The need to talk about it

Later this month, some members of the LeaderShape co-lead facilitator community are hosting a virtual community conversation focusing on Day 7 and staying in action (more details below!). As the group has reflected on how to activate the energy cultivated at the Institute, they have reflected on their own Day 7 experiences. And one of our facilitators, Julie Larson, is here to share her thoughts. 

Julie Larsen is a Sr. Curriculum Manager at Amazon, where she uses on-boarding as a chance to introduce engineers to Thinking Big and living in possibility. Her favorite Institute snack is Swedish Fish.

I attended my first LeaderShape Institute 8 years ago. I didn’t know much about LeaderShape, I had never been on a campus with an Institute, but I knew it was billed as a life changing experience. I headed to Allerton with high expectations, and that feeling of wonder-dread that comes with a new experience.

Knights of AllertonOver the course of 8 years, I’ve been a part of 10 sessions. I’ve met participants from around the world, with ages ranging from 17 – 63. And each session has had a part in changing my life, sometimes big, sometimes small. I’ve made lifelong friendships, and had the opportunity to build relationships with those whose views are very different from my own.

I’ve been challenged, and been the one to challenge others. I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve eaten lots and lots of snacks, and sung lots and lots of Baby Shark (before it exploded the internet!).

The Institute has become an annual chance for me to dig deep into my values, and gut check my integrity. And yet, as much as I love the Institute, and am thankful for all that LeaderShape has brought to my life, sometimes I find myself wondering if it still fits into my world today?

I am 37 years old, with a strong career, a loving partner, and a healthy body. By all accounts I am in a good place, but that doesn’t mean I am without questions. What does it mean to have a vision? What if I don’t really know what my vision is anymore? How do you lead with integrity when things get hard? How do I stand up for a just, caring, thriving world when it seems no one around me understands those words? Am I doing it right?

I want to talk about Day 7, I need to talk about Day 7, because like many others I want to hear how others are moving forward when it seems like the hardest thing to do. I want to talk about how to stay grounded and focused when the magic of the Institute feels far away.

I have said for many years that the Institute fills my cup. I know that finding my way back to Day 7 will be what keeps my cup full.

Join us for a community conversation on Day 7 and staying in action! 

⚡ To participate in the virtual Day 7 gathering on Monday, February 25 use this link: https://bit.ly/2VZRwel or by phone by dialing 1-646-558-8656 when prompted put in PIN: 987271038#
⚡ To participate in the virtual Day 7 gathering on Wednesday, February 27 use this link: https://bit.ly/2QW9VW1​ or by phone by dialing 1-646-558-8656 when prompted put in PIN: 466164951#

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is believing that basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Creating a love for learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishments. (edglossary.org/growth-mindset/)

Mindset is everything in our lives that affects the way we perceive what “should be.” It is the key to achieving our goals. It is dynamic, not idle or stagnant, and something to be cultivated. Mindset is what YOU choose it to be.

“Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world.” – Amit Ray

This month we pushed ourselves to be uncomfortable. We asked you all to join us as
we stretched out minds out of the typical “that was too hard” to think “This may
take some time.”

4 6 10

Developing a growth mindset will take time, but as we focus inward at how we perceive things that happen in our lives and how we react to them, we can start to expand our minds. We have the ability to change our own abilities based on our mindset alone.

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing
it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time, to figure out whether you like
it or not.” – Virgil Garnett Thomson

Once we start to expand our minds we become capable of our wildest dreams.  Your mindset not only starts to shape who we are but what we get out of every situation. Beginning the journey to cultivate a growth mindset will benefit the way we learn, help us to get over obstacles faster, and strengthen our healthy disregard for the impossible. Think to yourself “I can’t do this YET.

Changing your thoughts takes practice and encouragement. Pay attention to the progress you are making – and cheer yourself on along the way! Save one of the wallpapers below for a bit of reassurance each time you pick up your phone.

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Lessons of Yes

If you follow along on social media and/or participate in our webinar series, you know that we’ve been considering how and why to say yes a bit less. Our webinar presenter Jeffrey Cufaude provided helpful tools that can help us determine when no is the answer. (And let us say, these are tools that we can actually implement – they are that good and that applicable.)

What about when you have cultivated the aptitude to say no? What about when you are ready to say yes?

Saying no, and even saying yes less often, gifts us with the opportunity to say YES to the people, challenges, and opportunities that are most aligned with who we are and who we want to be. When looking to saying yes role models, we’re called to Ms. Shonda Rhimes. Her TED Talk, and to a more comprehensive degree, her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, welcomed us into her journey – and discoveries – of saying yes.

—shonda rhimes

Although Shonda’s experience was to yes to everything over the course of the year, we have been thinking about how to be discerning when we are in a say yes place. How can we hold saying yes and living our life with purpose and in congruence?

While you craft your “yes” areas, we want to encourage you to do so with purpose. With intention. Here are a few areas that we think offer clarity and encouragement to know what to say yes to.

Core Values
We believe that being a person of integrity is one of the most important ways to be in life. It is one of the most important contributions we can make to our lives and our leadership. When saying yes, consider how congruent the opportunity is to your core values.

Cause & Contribution
We find that people do their best work when contributing to the causes that they care about most. What are you working for and toward when your passions and interests are awakened? Say yes to that. Prioritize that. Be in service to that.

It’s important to clarify that you aren’t asking yourself whether you should care about that thing that has been offered to you. It is not possible to truly and consistently care about every issue we face in the world. Care about what calls to you as deeply as you can and appreciate that someone else cares just as deeply about the things that you aren’t centering.  

Being Your Best Self
Saying yes isn’t only about doing, it is also about being. Direct your yeses to where you can be your best self, contribute your best self, and grow into the best version of you.

With Vigor and Energy
There is an old interview with Ann Richards (former Governor of Texas) where she remarks on how she doesn’t believe we are meant to spend our lives in drudgery. She encourages people to enjoy what they can. We hope you can direct your yeses to the things in life that give you joy! That you can approach with vigor and energy, even if that energy includes a little bit of healthy fear.

Say Yes to No
This one is direct from Shonda (Chapter 11 in her book) and explored in the Say Yes Less webinar. No is a complete sentence. It is ok to say no. It’s helpful to be so connected and intentional with what you say yes to that deciding what to say no to is easy.

Whether you are in a Say Yes Less or Say Yes mindset in life right now, we hope you are intentional about your choices. When you find you are saying yes too often or without intention, come back to this post and find congruence in your yeses again!