Reflections from an Institute Graduate, Part 3

Here is the final post in our three part series from LeaderShaper Storm Tyler. Missed the first two? You can find them here and here! Be sure to check them out before reading on…

As students explored who they are and what they wanted to be, I too was approaching a self break-through. Recognizing the shared pain of some of my students, I had to address personal issues that were becoming detrimental. Much like my name, my anger manifests as a storm and, with the love from my fellow facilitators, I was finally able to erupt. I am a never-ending work in progress that’s equally frustrated and hopeful with society…and that is acceptable, as long as I set daily intention to be and do better. Initially embarrassed, this safe space was instrumental in my development, as even in a very dark moment I felt empowered. I realized I am no less powerful for publicly sharing pieces of my story that aren’t alluring.

Storm's %22D-DUBS%22 Family ClusterDespite being complex individuals with varying life experiences, magic manifested that week. As a result, my Day Seven is an evident reminder of how privileged I am. I am nothing but fortunate to have the ability to utilize all of my power and be surrounded by leaders who radiate possibility. I’m thankful to possess core values—adventure, autonomy, community, equity, learning and opportunity—that are a non-negotiable foundation in my life. When moments are exhausting I’m greeted with so much love, inspiration, and laughter from all of my mailbox notes. Additionally, I open social media, email, and group messages daily with a warm heart as I observe graduates cultivating their visions, conquering undergraduate and the world. I’m honored to unapologetically fight for and with all of the individuals that have been a part of my Institute experiences. My Day Seven is universal so long as I choose to seek and seize it. Most importantly, this journey is mine for the taking: “from trepidation to activation through contemplation and realization, D-DUBS showing the world some love”…so I’ll take it by storm.

Reflections from an Institute Graduate, Part 2

Here is part 2 in our three part series from LeaderShaper Storm Tyler. Missed the first one? You can find it here! Be sure to check it out before reading on…

Due to my transformative experience as a participant at the Institute, I desired to be a Cluster Facilitator, facilitating the next generation of global leaders who would “lead with integrity and have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” Although pumped and well trained, feelings of self-inadequacy and imposter syndrome evolved. I became increasingly anxious I wouldn’t be sufficient for my family cluster and that the students would be deprived of the experience that previously altered my life in such a positive way. The night prior to Day One, I was ill and restless but managed to notate “I am terrified…but will arrive and rise regardless” in my journal. Despite the anxiety, remembering my most favorite aspect of the program – establishing meaningful relationships and witnessing my inspired peers feel unlimited in the pursuit of their dreams – and repeating “I was more than the things I tell myself about myself” was enough for me to trust this process.

TXST '16 LeaderShape

Yet, throughout the beginning of the week I awkwardly navigated the space between participant and facilitator. Hesitant to speak, as I was afraid I’d reveal too many details regarding the simulations or take away from the student’s experience, I found myself highly attentive yet quiet during family cluster time. I struggled to find my voice and was frustrated for not rising to the expectations I had for myself; however, I listened and learned to ensure my presence would be enduring. It was my mission to utilize all of my power, resources, and network to assist my D-DUBS (aka Diverse Warriors!) and all students in cultivating their visions. I understood I could do this, if I once again trusted this process. Day-by-day, I emerged and realized my leadership facilitation manifested via one of my top strengths – developer. These students could grow from me even if it was solely from me providing a listening ear to their “crazy dreams”, via the resources from my sticky notes, or by assuring them that they can live the life they’ve always wanted, just as they are.

I was enough…I am enough.

Reflections from an Institute Graduate, Part 1

One of the most exciting parts of our work at LeaderShape is when we connect with the members of our community. A few months back we heard from Texas State University Institute graduate Storm Tyler. We hope you’ll enjoy part one of Storm’s three-part blog series that offers a peak into Storm’s experience with the Institute.

I’m Storm, a proud Bobcat that’s beginning a Masters in Digital Media. Throughout undergrad, I was involved in our Leadership Institute, in which I found a love for mentoring younger students and developing their leadership potential. At heart, I’m an aspiring working nomad discovering my own purpose while attempting to understand the world and its people beyond my own perception.

Storm-Facilitator“I want to be the kind of person who: was (r)evolutionary. One who lived adventurously and in possibility with purpose, challenged creatively as well as appreciated and loved compassionately.” This statement along with many other mementos hang around my bedroom walls in remembrance to be and do better for myself, others and the world. Courtesy of my initial Institute experience, I not only returned personally fulfilled but with plans for a global vision. It was the mid-year and undergraduate rejuvenator I so desperately needed.

I’m an avid conference attendee—whether in regard to leadership, social equity, entrepreneurship/tech or women’s empowerment—the energy of positively charged leaders and innovators is enough for me to attend at least five per year. However, LeaderShape’s Institute was unparalleled and complete with endless laughter, damp eyes from personal storytelling, headaches from self-confrontation and daily successes from internal validation. Simply, this weeklong program restored my thunder.