That’s right we literally sent Boomer the Bear to the LeaderShape Institute on July 20th. Ok, so maybe it was sophomore criminal justice major, Blake Shepheard, who just so happens to serve as Boomer the Bear at athletic events. It sounded like Blake had a life changing experience at LeaderShape and has big plans to bring what he learned back to Missouri State. Here are some things that he chose to share from the week:
We just completed day one at the LeaderShape Institute. It is really pretty awesome to be out here in the middle of Illinois with sixty ambitious student leaders from across the nation. I have met people from all over the United States! My favorite part about this experience so far is the passion and energy. Everyone here is on the same page. We all have a desire to change the world for a positive way and I am excited to see how our community continues to grow throughout the rest of the week here at Allerton Park.
This program is fast paced. Time is flying and I am having such a great time! Today we talked about the value of one, the power of all. This topic specifically resignated with me because I think student leaders often feel very capable of doing their job, especially with the size of our campus. I like to imagine a day when all of our student organizations can work together, cooperate, to reach every student and help them to engage in our campus some way. Each individual is capable of a lot, however, when we work together, we can accomplish so much more.
What a powerful day. Each participant came in with a passion and we have been working to shape and mold that in to a personal vision. Today was real. Today was powerful. We discussed the importance of challenging what is and looking to what could be. I think that many times we take our daily life for granted and assume that every second of the day is planned out, that our future is set. Today we learned that it is not. We have the ability to change the status quo and we are starting to get the resources and knowledge as to how to make that happen. It’s an awesome transformation.
Bringing vision to reality. That was the topic today. We talked about those things that keep us up at night, that ponder our brain when we are taking a final exam and that cause us to day dream when we should be focused. We discussed how to make our visions real and attainable and how to get other people on board. My favorite part of today was going around and seeing the “tomorrow’s headlines” activity. I was encouraged to know that our generation has the desire to generate change.
Living and leading with integrity can be hard, especially when dealing with those every day who have different values than yourself. For me, sticking to my core values can be a trick at times. Today we talked about the importance of staying true to yourself and how that maintains your credibility as a leader. We did some hardcore examination of who we are and committed to maintaining that even after leaving LeaderShape and returning to our campuses.
It is always exciting to attend Leadership programs. You always seem to get a “leadership high” because everyone around you has the same passion and drive as yourself. We all share pretty similar values and have experiences that unite us. The most difficult part is leaving the institute and staying in action. Our final morning consisted of discussing ways to stay encouraged and positive and ready to act when we return home. We discussed the importance of living our LeaderShape and being an example to others in our everyday life.
Although LeaderShape is only six days, we discuss “Day 7” which is the future. It is every day, waking up with a desire to change things, encourage others and live the true compassion of LeaderShape. It is sticking to your core values in those times when giving in would be easier and it is working each day to make your vision a reality. I imagine a world where pride and dignity can be instilled in the lives of underprivileged youth and day 7 is the opportunity for me to make that happen and to work to get everyone else involved. LeaderShape transformed me as a leader, but only because I dove in head first, ready to fail and learn new things. I had no regrets and I lived in the moment 100% of the time. I have learned the importance of integrity as well as striving to make the world a better place. I encourage everyone to attend a LeaderShape Institute and I hope that it evolves you as a person as much as it did me!