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 at 6pm CST 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 at 11am CST 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#

Day 7: Gratitude

This month’s Day 7 has focused on getting behind the movement by supporting those we care about and the work they are doing and by showing our gratitude to the people who are there for us in the same way!

7 days of gratitude

If you’ve been following along on social media, you’ve seen that we’ve been demonstrating a variety of ways that you can show the support and gratitude that you have for others. Although all of the activities we have practiced this week are meaningful and sincere ways to show appreciation, one of the best and simplest ways to show gratitude is to put your thoughts into action and tell people exactly how grateful we are. We want to encourage you to take that step todayWe’ve made it easy for you, too.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

Download this template and use it for those who have made an impact in your life. Not sure where to start? Here are a few people to say thanks to:

Parents and care-givers, siblings, grandparents and other family members, friends, your spouse or partner, teachers and mentors, neighbors, roommates, advisors and supervisors, co-workers, your mail carrier, barista, or mechanic, and any other person who you can think of that makes a difference in your life.

For us at LeaderShape, we are grateful to have so many people to thank for getting behind our movement of a just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible! Campus partners, sponsors, facilitators, donors, participants, and anyone in our community who is living LeaderShape. Today we want to take a moment to show our gratitude for just a few of our past graduates.

Varun Arora –  OpenCurriculum
Varun is the CEO at OpenCurriculum, a California-based nonprofit education technology company that is helping teachers all around the world teach better. Their a mission is to bring openness and innovation to K-12 curriculum around the world.

Varun participated in the Institute in Doha, Qatar in 2009, and in 2011 Google named him a Zeitgeist Young Mind. We believe in life-long learning and appreciate Varun’s commitment to the continued learning of teachers and their students.

Marly Q. Casanova – PARK Project
Marly has been spreading kindness through her PARK Project, which stands for Performing Acts of Random Kindness. Not long ago, Marly shared a copy of her Breakthrough Blueprint from 2004 and how it has been a driving force in her life. In 2017, she came back to a national session of the Institute as a Guest Leader and was invited to do the same at the South Florida consortium session. Our thanks goes to Marly for living and sharing LeaderShape!

Jessica Ekstrom – Headbands of Hope
Founder of Headbands of Hope, named Women’s Health Magazine’s Ultimate Game Changer, professional speaker, creator of the Mic Drop Workshop, and more. Jess cares deeply about helping kids feel confident during the difficult time of cancer treatment and empowering women to join the #SisterSpeaker revolution by helping women feel confident in their story, impact, and public speaking. We want Jess to know how much we appreciate how she has activated her care for others in the world through her work and life. 

Tyler Tolson – Denik LLC
As one of the founders of Denik, Tyler is an example of someone who lives out his values and vision through his work and beyond. Denik is a social enterprise that empowers and enlivens artists and helps to build schools in underdeveloped areas – and they do this by making beautiful products like notebooks. Each purchase helps to fund education projects worldwide. With the help of their partner Pencils of Promise, they will soon build their fifth school!

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” Mahatma Gandhi

We know this isn’t an exhaustive list of LeaderShapers out there doing great work. But it’s a start. We hope you’ll make a start with us!

October: Reflecting in the Moment

Here at LeaderShape, we rely on the power of our community to make what we do possible. We believe that anything is possible with a compelling vision, integrity, a supportive community and the commitment to stay in action. We spent September looking toward the future, and we hope you did too (head over to our Instagram account and check out the “September” story).

Our vision is a just, caring, and thriving world where everyone leads with integrity and lives in possibility. Where we work in community with one another. Where everyone recognizes their own gifts and finds ways to use them for the greater good. Our intention is to create spaces for others to be included and contribute in this world and then by doing so, lead others to do the same – “to lead, live”.

This month we want to invite everyone, including our staff and organization, to reflect in the moment. Being mindful and present with yourself, and groups you identify with, is beneficial to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.

Below is a peak at some of what we’ll be sharing on our social media platforms this month. We’re eager to reflect with the LeaderShape community this month!

National Book Month

Books expose us to new ideas, connect us to the lived experience of others, and can even bring about self-discovery. October is National Book Month and to celebrate, the LeaderShape staff is sharing what they have been reading.

pexels-photo-261820 (1)

Day 7

Leaders inevitably find themselves stuck in the mess; living and leading with integrity is no simple task, but it is possible. Because of this, we will focus our #Day7 in October around why mindfulness matters. Student leaders, especially, can become overwhelmed with everything that college life involves – attending class, preparing for papers and tests, attending club meetings and putting on campus events, not to mention maintaining relationships with friends, families, and partners. This alone can turn a normal nine to five day into a non-stop day with few breaks and little time for meals and sleep.

We believe that all of us, no matter our workload or commitments, is capable of practicing mindfulness. On Sunday, October 7th, follow the hashtag #MindfulnessMatters on Instagram and Twitter as we reflect on ways to practice mindfulness by yourself, with a group, and reasons why it’s beneficial for leaders.

Oct Day 7 Twitter Promotion with host (1)

LeaderShapers in Action

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from LeaderShapers across the nation who  are staying in action. And soon we’ll be sharing even more advice and stories from the participants and facilitators from our programs!

We would like to share your story as well! If, as a result of a LeaderShape program, you have experienced a personal change in thought or behavior or have put what you’ve learned into action. We can’t wait to hear from you!

LeaderShapers In Action