A New Lens For Truly Learning September 9, 2009Posted by integrityintegrated in Uncategorized.
For most people, it’s not what they are that holds them back;
It’s what they think they are not.
John C Maxwell
I know better than to try and take an entire weekend retreat and narrow it down to just a few words to describe its impact on me. And yet I desperately want to do just that. As I went through the weekend, writing my journals, I found myself putting a star next to various sections and marking them “Blog”. And so it is that I’ve decided to share those sections, without a great deal of detail.
The experience I’m referring to was a 2.5 day leadership retreat in Princeton New Jersey. The retreat is based on neuroscience brain research to create a leadership retreat that combines emotional and cognitive learning and growth. Mission accomplished!
One former participant described the LIFE program (Leadership Initiative for Excellence) as the best and most life changing experience that he hoped to never have again.
After a difficult day of travel that started at 4AM, I arrived in Princeton NJ in the mid afternoon Friday. Our session officially began at 4PM and the first day concluded at midnight. I found myself so keyed up with emotions (mostly negative and judgmental) that I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill at 1AM in order to move the energy around in my body.
I started the next day at 5:30AM and made a conscious decision to use a brand new set of contacts. As I was putting in the new contacts, I said to myself, I’m putting in a new set of eyes today. My intention is to truly open up to learning.”
Mission Accomplished—but it wasn’t easy. One of the first exercises the second day involved the expression of big joy. I struggled with the exercise instructions and wrote the following in my notes:
“I was continually challenged to stop judging the process and focus on what I could learn about myself and how I could support others. I desperately wanted to get people to vote for me so I could sit down and stop the activity.
I noticed feeling very scared and then ashamed during the enthusiasm exercise. When I heard the feedback I felt angry (Just wait until YOU have to do this) and I wanted to retaliate by not voting for them. As I stood in front of the class I felt afraid and suffocated when people began giving me advice. I wanted to flee the group and the room.”
But I hung in there and put myself into the exercise 100%. With the support of the class, and by digging deep within myself, I successfully accomplished the task. And that exercise served as the true shift in my entire weekend.
Other journal comments from the weekend: “When I was cheering others on, I began with just doing it in order to support the team. As we continued though, I noticed more and more of my enthusiasm was coming from a genuine place of wanting to give my 100% to the person in the spotlight and to my team. I feel surprised that I could keep my energy level up so high for so long. I am thrilled that I did so. I feel such an increased confidence in knowing that I can sustain such a high energy level and that I do whatever I put my mind to, especially when I have the enthusiastic support of others. I feel excited and hopeful about taking action to make my vision become a reality.”
The LIFE retreat reinforces an important leadership concept; one that many people shy away from. Study after study continues to remind us that the best leaders are those who move through difficult (crucible) life experiences. By doing so, they gain the necessary skills (mental, emotional, and spiritual) in order to be better leaders. It really is true that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
The LIFE experience also aligns greatly with my work at Integrity Integrated Inc and my teaching with MBA students. My work is dedicated to creating opportunities that ignite people to explore new possibilities in their lives—personally and professionally. One of my teachers always used to say, “It’s not always easy, but it’s always good.”
Security is a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is not safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing
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