I just came back from the LeaderShape at the University of Michigan program, where I was blessed with the role of a cluster facilitator this year. A year ago I was part of this program as a participant, and I couldn’t wait to get back again. And I’m speechless. Yet again.
I came into last week really wanting the participants to be able to leave the week with their lives changed, just like how I left last year. I was determined to do the best that I can to provide a safe and open environment and challenge the participants to dig deeper – than they ever have – into the depths of their beings. As the lead facilitator pointed out, I was in fact slightly worried at the beginning of the week that I wouldn’t be able to recreate the experience that I had last year.
LeaderShape this year played out rather differently from last year – more lighthearted but also more earnest throughout. If I really had my way, I wanted a serious, reflective tone interspersed with jovial moments when the time calls for them. It was really hard for me to let go at first, but soon I was reminded of what I’ve always believed in – to let go, let God. And that’s what I attempted to do. And it worked out, like how LeaderShape has always worked out.
The truth is… I’d have to work extremely hard to intentionally ruin this experience, and I didn’t. As the week rolled by, I was continuously reminded of why I believed in this program in the first place, and why I cared. It was amazing to watch how the participants slowly started to come together as a community, get excited thinking about their visions, grew from a profound simulation that helps them understand the reality of our world, and believed in their ability to effect positive change. On the last day of this program it just all came together.
I cried. And I’m not the crying type. My friends know that. I too was wondering what in the world was going on. I never cry at these kind of things. I thought about it afterwards, and it dawned upon me that me – the person I truly am – derives so much joy and meaning from helping others realize their potential and find their own paths. It was one of those magical spiritual moments where I just connected with the light within so profoundly that tears started flowing. Now, I know that no matter where I go, LeaderShape will always be close to my heart and I will never ever forget its role as a spark in my own journey and growth. I owe this revelation to everyone who was there.
I am LeaderShape.