What we are all working toward

Positive Change. It is what we are all working toward.

Every day we get up and try to make a difference hoping that we are able to use our talents, skills, and abilities to their best. We work for change that benefits us all – our communities, our country, our world. It is easy to lose sight of this goal. Easy to lose sight of our vision.

In the past few years, we’ve seen society’s prominent leaders disregard human decency, refuse to participate in constructive discussion, promote divisiveness, and engage in soundbite insults. This is why we need LeaderShape. The impact of LeaderShape has probably never been as important as it is now because people have lost trust in what it means to be a leader.

I want to highlight four important concepts that we teach.

LeaderShape teaches us how to hear each other without the fear of each other. LeaderShape instills confidence by showing people how to face and own their individual experiences. Then we discuss the commonalities of our experiences, clearing the path for cooperation, wisdom, and the courage to bring about change.

LeaderShape teaches us how to be okay with who we are and what we stand for. LeaderShape helps us understand ourselves and realize that each person around us struggles with the same thing.

LeaderShape teaches us to learn to listen. LeaderShape provides the community where understanding each other cuts down on the sting and vitriol of conflict. We are present with our disagreements and don’t retreat to our corners. We stay in the mess.

Finally, the LeaderShape experience gives us the tools to discover that we’re not so afraid. And that gives all of us the freedom to stand up and bring about the change we want to see. We gain the courage to bring about change and that’s what endures in the long run.

Now is not the time to lose hope in what we can accomplish. Now is the time to be in community. True community where we wrestle with life’s questions and together try to find answers that work for all of us, not just a few. Let’s forget for a minute about being leaders and focus on being better humans. When we get that straight, leadership will happen. Behaviors will change. Habits will form. Change will happen.

In the meantime, I want you to know that LeaderShape will stay true to our core values of integrity, equity, possibility, vision, community, and relationships. We will take no shortcuts in terms of the quality of experiences that we provide. We will partner with those individuals and institutions that want to be a part of bringing about that positive change because together there is strength. We can drown out the chaos of today and keep our eye on the horizon – on our vision of a more just, caring, equitable, and thriving world.

And we will remember that with your help we provide experiences that transform lives.

I invite you to commit or recommit to creating positive change in the world. LeaderShape sees that future and looks forward to adjusting our practices to meet whatever it takes to be a part of that future. We will fail more. We will join with others committed to learning. We will stay humble and work hard.

We are needed now more than ever.

LeaderShape accepts that challenge and hopes you do too.

LSH_Blog-Bios_Paul

To lead, receive.

To lead, give.

To lead, receive.

To lead, stop and think about why you do both. Just a thought, but perhaps one of the best ways to stay on track toward your vision and to lead with integrity.

At this time of year, many of us get caught up in all the things we must do that we stumble from mid-November to January in a flurry of activity, deadlines, and tasks to complete. The pace starts to pick up as we approach the end of another year. Perhaps we think that we need to make up for all the things we didn’t complete this year or maybe the expectations placed upon ourselves really are not possible to meet.

toleadgiverecieveSo, it makes me think about giving and receiving. My children are all about what they are receiving this year as we celebrate a holiday important to my family. My wife and I are thinking long and hard about how to instill a sense of giving in them and less receiving.

I am wondering if we have it backwards.

The ability to receive a compliment, a gift, or a kind word is hard to do. As we get older, we are expected to be able to do this yet we do not want to be perceived, much like my children, as “wanting” or “deserving” of these gifts. At LeaderShape, I have been very shy and humble about receiving gifts to our annual fund every year. Almost as if I was reluctant to accept them or that we were not deserving of these gifts. I had a realization during our annual fund request these last couple of weeks…I need to be open to receiving so that I truly honor someone sharing a gift.

When someone gives to you or a cause like LeaderShape, they are believing in you, showing they care for you, wanting to help you. When we receive a gift with honor, gratitude, and sincerity, we acknowledge someone’s effort and thought. It is a necessary skill to learn how to receive gifts from others in order to truly show appreciation and acceptance of this thought.

Giving is a trait of all good leaders. Receiving is just as important. But this does take time and attention. We must slow down a little bit, look someone in the eye, and show our appreciation.

Maybe that is the true magic of giving and receiving. Slow down and appreciate the gifts you receive whether they be someone’s time or resources.

Even if it is another pair of socks or a nasty, scratchy sweater.

Yes, I have plenty. Lucky guy.

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.

2014 Palmer Award Recipients

We received almost 50 Palmer Award applications from LeaderShape graduates who are working towards their visions and making an impact on their campuses, in their communities, and on the world. It is a privilege to read these inspirational stories and see how the members of the LeaderShape community are helping to create a just, caring, and thriving world. Although all of the applications were filled with examples of taking action and making a difference, two stood above the rest. So now it’s time to announce the recipients of this year’s Palmer Award!

EMMANUEL EZE, Boise State University
Emmanuel headed to Boise State University from Baltimore, Maryland. Many encouraged him to go elsewhere worried, that as a person of color, he would not be accepted in Idaho. The transition to Boise State has been a positive one, and has led Emmanuel on a path to “let others know that things are not always the way they seem; that we live in a world where people judge each other based on what they have heard or possibly viewed on television,” and to then help others recognize that “diversity is one of the best things that ever happened to humanity.”

Vision
A world free from oppression, prejudice, and discrimination for everyone, including people that have a hard time fitting into their new environment.

Action
Making a multicultural inclusion music video was a goal that Emmanuel set for himself. Some of the outcomes he was looking for from the video were to promote diversity, inclusion, and acceptance at Boise State as well as to build community at the University and beyond. Through the relationships and partnerships Emmanuel forged with 13 student clubs and organizations, 7 departments, an elementary school, and Boise State alumni with experience in audio and video production, Emmanuel and his team created “Let’s All GrowTogether.”

Emmanuel is proud to share that the video has been well received shared University-wide.

What’s Next?
Twelve Universities and Colleges in Idaho are coming together to make another diversity inclusion music video and we should be able to get a peak at the project in the Spring.

HALEY MULLINS, Miami University of Ohio
Haley sees providing children with an education as a way in which she can reach her vision. The commitment she has demonstrated towards the Otwee-Miami School of Hope certainly shows us how true that is.

Vision
That everyone has the opportunity to achieve the goals they set for themselves regardless of whether or not they have access to adequate resources.

Action
One of the goals that Haley shared set for herself was to raise funds for the Otwee-Miami School of Hope, a nursery school in Northern Uganda.  This year, the monies raised helped build an additional classroom onto the school. Haley was even able to travel to Uganda and assist in the labor herself. While there, she and other members from Oxfam spent time interviewing families in the community in order to gain knowledge that will aid in successfully establishing a sponsorship program that will provide children with the annual tuition and supplies necessary to attend school.

What’s next?
Next on Haley’s list of goals to support the Otwee-Miami School of Hope is to tackle is a fence project, which will protect students from the nearby road. She is also working to fundraise for classroom tables