2017 National Sessions of the Institute

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As everyone quickly moves through their daily lives, it is difficult to make time for conversations. Many interactions happen with a quick text or message via Snap Chat. At the Institute, we intentionally slow down to allow participants to create a community in which they can engage in meaningful conversations about values, integrity, and their passions. The week is focused on asking participants to connect with their values and then put them into action by developing a vision for something they care about.

In 2017, we will continue to provide the Institute experience to participants giving them an opportunity to explore their values and develop a vision for something they care about.

We will host 5 sessions in two locations. The dates and locations of the two general sessions are May 14-19 in Boston, MA and July 23-28 in Champaign, IL.

For the past two years we have hosted a national session for a specific demographic. We have done this to help participants explore the concepts of the Institute in a community of individuals who share parts of their identity. These sessions with African American men have been profoundly impactful so we are expanding to other areas of interest in 2017. Here are the dates and specifications for the three special interest sessions, all to be held in Champaign, IL:

May 21-26: Institute for Residence Hall Leaders
July 30- August 4: Institute for Latinx Students
August 6-11: Institute for African American Men

If you are interested in learning how you can attend or how you can send students from your college/university or organization to a session, please email us at lead@leadershape.org.

Want to learn more about the Institute?
You can visit our website and check out these posts about our program.
Institute FAQs
A Nerd’s Reflection on the Institute
The Heart of National Sessions of the Institute

#toleadlive

Friday Five: Staying in the moment

As leaders, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future, don’t we? Whether we are going through the visioning process or striving to meet personal or professional goals, leaders typically have a futuristic mindset. We get excited about the future (as we should) and we love to let our minds wander about all the possibilities that exist within the days, months, and years to come. We enjoy wondering what’s next – in our career, with our family, and with other things that are important to us. For many, the future can provide a sense of motivation and purpose because we are goal oriented.

But because of the many unknowns and all the different variables, thinking about the future can take a lot of time. And sometimes, it can remove us from the present. From the now. It can distract us from our daily interactions with others, from the beauty of our daily lives, from our relationships, and from our daily thoughts.

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What would happen if we could pause for a moment each day to embrace the present moment? Would we be able to relax a bit more and stress a bit less? Would we be able to accomplish more and increase our productivity? Would our relationships flourish? Would our momentum continue building?

Staying in the moment is tough and it typically doesn’t come naturally. We are constantly surrounded by so many distractions and disruptions in our lives. We have short attention spans and busy schedules and the “present moment” flies by so quickly.

Here are my 5 tips for staying in the moment:

Pause.
Being intentional in your daily routine can be the first step to staying in the moment. Pausing allows you to recognize that you want to shift your mindset to that very moment. It helps you to actively think about what you are doing and to escape the chaos surrounding you in that moment.

Reflect.
Taking the time to reflect allows you to embrace the present moment. It can help you to recognize everything that is happening and develop an increased appreciation for the beauty of that moment. Reflect upon the stillness surrounding you. Reflect upon the sights and sounds that you are immersed in.

Breathe.
Though breathing is such a natural process, intentional breathing can provide you with so much control in the moment. Breathing allows you to de-stress, relax and be fully present in the moment.

Write.
Writing is a powerful practice. Pausing in the moment and capturing your thoughts, feelings, and environments will help to solidify the value of staying in the moment. Writing in the moment allows you to focus your attention and energy while capturing a glimpse of the most still moments of your life.

Repeat.
Repeating this process will make it more natural. Before you know it, you will find yourself enjoying the little things in life more and making the most of every moment. You will be more engaged in conversations and more present with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Will you make it a priority to intentionally stay in the moment? Will you embrace the beauty of everyday life? Will you pause, reflect, breathe, and write a little bit more today
Let’s do it together.

Blake is a marketing and community engagement intern at LeaderShape and a graduating senior at Missouri State University studying public relations. Blake enjoys unplugging and recharging by kayaking, hiking, and reading a good book.

A Few Words From Paul: What does all this mean?

I have referenced Victor Frankl’s work, Man’s Search for Meaning, many times throughout my career and in my personal life. So many times, that I should ask everyone before I mention it, “Have I told you about Victor Frankl already?” You know you are getting old when you start to tell the same stories repeatedly. I keep telling myself they work so I keep on telling them. Persistence, I guess.

Anyway, I believe we all go through tough times, and if we are not, we need to push the envelope a little more because that is where personal growth happens. Phrases like the following: “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” “I never said it was easy, I only said it was worth it,” “No pain, no gain,” etc., etc., etc. Most all of these focus on the meaning we assign to the events that take place in our lives. We can endure anything if the “why” is strong enough.

It is our choice to create the meaning we attach to any event in our lives. Always.

Things happen and we decide what they mean to us. Usually, we do this through the stories we tell each other. Even more importantly, we do this through the stories we tell ourselves. That inner narrative is so crucial to our success, our vision, our leadership.
Those of us that can tell a different story – one of meaning, one of hope, one of possibility – can do amazing things with the time we have.

Unfortunately, many of us tell a different story. A story of excuses. A story of lost opportunity. A story of unfairness.

What is your story? What meaning do you attach to what happens to you in your life? I recently finished the book, The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith, and it blew me away. I read so much that it is rare for me to get giddy about a book, but this one did it to me. It speaks to what we do at LeaderShape…helping people find their purpose, their meaning, their vision.

I could not stop thinking about the differences between having a vision and having meaning or purpose in your life. Is there a difference? I think so, and I think the big one is that if you have meaning behind your vision, you keep going. You persist. You persevere. You do what it takes to make it happen.

You also realize that having meaning or purpose in your life may be enough. All you need to have a wonderful life.

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I wonder how the world would be different if everyone just knew their purpose. How they are uniquely qualified to make a difference in the world. Even without the accomplishment of achieving your vision, I think we would feel a little more secure and be a little more resilient when things happen in the world that we don’t understand.

Take a few moments today and think about your purpose. Not your vision, but your purpose. Why you are here.

Share it with us at LeaderShape.

That’s our purpose.


Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.