Trying Something for 30 Days: Q&A session with Community Engagement Team

Earlier this year, our Community Engagement Team dove headfirst into our Catalyst™ program to tackle an exercise on building a habit.  Catalyst™ is a one-day experience focused on learning to develop your own authentic path, connect to groups and causes you care about, and commit to a plan to be a catalyst for yourself and the groups you’re part of. The trio of KBH (Vice President), Krista (intern), and Colby (intern) selected a habit to add to their routine for 30 days in April. Find out how they did with Trying Something for 30 Days:

Which habit did you select to Try Something For 30 Days?

KBH: Spend 5 minutes mentally reliving a happy moment, including as much detail as I can remember.

Krista: Take 30 minutes every day working toward finding your life passion.

Colby: When you feel stressed during the day, make yourself stop for 5 minutes to identify the source of stress

IMG_1493What was it like to develop your habit over 30 days? Could you give an example of one activity or exercise that you did because of your habit?

KBH: This habit brought a bit of cheer to my days. It was helpful on days that felt heavy because I had something to remind me that life is both heaviness and lightness.  

Krista: This habit helped me figure out where my true passions lie. I would brainstorm on what truly made me happy, and find different ways to create a career out of that.

Colby: One activity I did for this habit was to work backwards from the stressor that I was currently experiencing or experienced in the past. I started with questions with simple questions of “What emotion were you feeling when (insert experience here)?” and progressed towards answering the question of “Why?” and “What did I learn from the experience?” It was a treat to take a step back once the 30 days was complete and see how the actions I took towards the habit evolved.

How did you motivate yourself to continue your habit each day?  How did you hold yourself accountable?

KBH: I went old-school with my accountability strategy – a post-it note on my computer monitor! The feelings from reflecting on a memory that brought me joy was a motivating factor for me. I found it to be uplifting to recall happy and positive times from my life.   

Krista: I used my impending graduation as motivation to continue working toward my habit of finding my passion. I set aside time each week to focus on what I love to do and since I would be needing to get a job after graduation, I used that to hold myself accountable on this habit.

Colby: I’ll be candid, developing this habit over 30 days was brutal at first. I kept forgetting to do it, but once I started, thoughts kept pouring out and words seamlessly appeared on the page. I wrote post-it notes of the emotion I was feeling while doing the habit and looked at them when I needed a boost of motivation.

IMG_1495In the Catalyst program, we ask participants to consider what they want their future leadership story to say about them, while understanding how the habits we create can help us author that story. Could you talk about how your habit  specifically help to realize the intentions and achievements in your leadership story?

KBH: I want to be someone others see as being able to move through life, even the challenging bits, with a sense of hope. One way I harness a feeling of hope is by recalling the times in life that were happy and meaningful. By creating a habit that centered around these memories, I think they will be easier to recall in times of struggle.

Krista: I feel like knowing where my true passions are will help me be the best leader I can. If I am able to use my talents to my full potential, then I will better lead others on their journey to finding their passion.

Colby: In hindsight, this habit helped me to look at previous experiences with a new lens, one that helped me to better understand myself. I will also add that this habit helped me to connect the dots of the puzzle that is my leadership story – the entire puzzle has yet to be finished (it’s a continual work in progress)!

Are you inspired to pick a habit and weave it into your routine? (Hey, us too!) Come back in a few days to learn how to kick start a life of integrity in three steps.

Friday 5: Things In My Office That Make My Day Better

We spend a lot of time in our offices! Even when you factor in meetings and errands, you’re probably in your office or cubicle about 5 hours a day. How often do you eat lunch at your desk? Ever spilled a cup of coffee on your keyboard? Yeah, me neither.

Because we spend so much time there, it’s nice to have a few items in our work spaces that inspire us, help us be productive, bring us some comfort, and motivate us. There are times when we need those items, right? Sometimes just a small memento can remind us of how far we’ve come, challenge us to push through some tough times, and bring some relief in the times when we think we just can’t keep going.

I keep a few things in my office that help me in those areas.

1. Focus Keeper app – I’m a little competitive. Not with other people; just with myself. This time keeping tool helps me compete with myself in a way that increases my productivity … win-win! The app includes a timer for productivity, and a shorter timer for a break. The goal is to see how many “rounds” of these timers you can complete in a work day. It’s helpful to have small, manageable time goals throughout the day to stay on track.

2. Gym bag and shoes – I try to go to the gym every day over my lunch hour. Keeping a gym bag packed with workout clothes and running shoes in my office certainly helps me stick to that plan. I find that having that time outside the office to sweat helps me come back to the afternoon refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Even if I don’t have time to get to the gym during the day, I will sometimes put those shoes on a take a short walk to clear my head.

3. Pictures of my nephews – My nephews are super important to me. They are a IMG_0021huge part of why I’m grateful for the work we are doing at LeaderShape. I want the world to be much more just, caring, and thriving by the time they’re old enough to attend the Institute. Seeing their pictures throughout the day certainly reminds me of that. They are such kind, funny, smart, and creative boys! Just seeing their smiles can make me smile and refocus my mind onto what’s truly important.

4. Music – This is high on the list of things I value. I often listen to the Productive Morning and Instrumental Study playlists on Spotify. It’s nice to have some quiet background noise that is unfamiliar so I don’t start whistling along On days when I have lots of conference calls and tasks to manage, I start the day with “Eye of the Tiger” … obviously. I think music is so critical in creating a tone, in pumping us up and creating a sense of calm.

5. Inspiring quote – I have some lyrics from a Dave Matthews song framed on my desk which reads, “Take what you can from your dreams, make them as real as anything.” My mother gave this to me a few years ago. Those lyrics are so inspiring to me because sometimes I need reminding to keep pressing on.

What do you keep in your office to help with productivity?
What do you keep in that space that inspires you?

Abby Prince is the Director of Program Quality and Management at LeaderShape. She spent 13+ years in the corporate world as a communicator and analyst before taking the leap into the world of not-for-profit. She hasn’t wanted or needed to look back. Outside of her career, she enjoys creating memories with her nephews, reading big books, rescuing dogs, and spending time in the kitchen. 

A Practice of Gratitude


This week many of us in the U.S. will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition to traveling, eating, and visiting with friends and family, the holiday also connects us to the notion of gratitude.

Our relationship with Dr. Amit Sood and the launch of our Resilience program has helped those of us working at LeaderShape to connect more intentionally with the practice of gratitude. It shows up in our conversations, in what we read, and how we want to live.

Whether Thanksgiving is your reminder to focus on gratitude or you have a daily practice of your own, we hope this list of resources inspires and encourages.

Popular Gratitude Books on Goodreads

Collection of Book Recommendations from

The Science Behind Gratitude from Happify

The Gifts of Gratitude from Holstee

Gratitude News from Huffington Post

Gratitude Glow from Unstuck

May Designs Gratitude Journal 

Morning Gratitude with Dr. Sood

An Experiment in Gratitude from Soul Pancake

Oh, To Be Grateful – a Spoken Word Poem by Natalie Patterson

If you have any resource on gratitude to share, we’d be most grateful if you’d post them in the comments section. 🙂