LDR 200 Reflection

This was the second leadership class taken with my cohort as part of protocol and this class was basically like LDR 100 2.0. This class took a more in depth look into leadership and took more interest in the philosophical, theoretical, and the foundations of leadership. We learned about the different theories of leadership and how they came to be. In this class we found our “why” statements, which are basically the motivation why we do the things we do. We had to think about our passions and how we could turn them in to purpose.

Our first assignment was a more in depth look facilitating. We went through a presentation about the “do’s and don’ts” while being a facilitator. There was more things about facilitating that I knew there were. One thing that stood out to me was not to ask close-ended or “yes or no” question while debriefing the activity. This leads to little discussion when while debriefing we are supposed to have a conversation about why we have done the activity and things we can take from the activity. The class was split into groups and took turns facilitating activities over a few weeks. My group decided to make a “Web of Goals”. We gave everyone a notecard and pencil and had them write their goal on that card, no matter how big or small, and then we started with one person and gave them a ball of yarn and had them state their goal and then keep passing it around the group until everyone had gone. By the end of this activity we had a visual representation of everyone being on this web with some shared goals and some different goals. My groups main goals was to help create a visual that there are other people who share similar goals and that we are all trying to reach them. There were some of our classmates who were not even aware that other people wanted the same things that they wanted and now they knew who to go to when if they ever lost motivation and needed some encouragement.

The next part of the semester was based all around leadership philosophy. We were able to write a paper about what the philosophy behind leadership was to us. This paper personally put many things into perspective for me. This paper was a step into the group presentations we would be starting.

Our next assignment was to do workshops. Each group was given a chapter in our textbook and told to make a workshop from that chapter. We were to come up with an activity and give a presentation about this chapter to present to our cohort. My group was giving Path-Goal Theory. We started out by playing a game called Mafia and they group had to work together to come to the ultimate goal and find out who the “mafia” was. Then we started our presentation to explain why the game related to our presentation. I actually really enjoyed having this assignment. We were able to work on our personal presenting skills, getting experience from making the workshops, and hear our classmates present on other topics instead of having one professor do all of this. This was just more leadership training in a class but also gave us more knowledge and history on leadership. It was a hands on experience that most classes don’t have.

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LAS in the “D” Reflection

On Friday, February 10th, myself and my cohort for Leadership Advancement Scholarship were given the opportunity to spend a mere 36 hours in the city of Detroit, MI. We were able to see the city as well as give time to volunteer in the city for non-profit organizations.

Starting on Friday we facilitated activities at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA).

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At Jalen Rose

JRLA is a charter school in metro-Detroit that was started in September 2011 and now serves over 400 students 9th-12th grades. This is a school that puts leadership in the center of everything they do, and that was very clear in how they ran things and how the students behaved while we were there. After leaving we were taken to the Quicken Loans building. Here we were given dinner and were able to listen to Buddy Henika who is very high up on the Quicken Loans pyramid, but in the middle of his presentation John Fikany took control of the presentation because of how passionate he is

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Outside of Quicken Loans Building

about Quicken Loans and how he was ready to give us summer internships and it was honestly amazing to see that he believed in us enough to basically offering us a really nice step into the Quicken Loans company. We got to learn a lot about the company and how involved they are in the well being of Detroit and how they want to proved jobs to people. You could really tell they especially like CMU students, they were happy to have us there and we were all very happy to be there. After going to Quicken we were able to go to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA).

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Candid picture of Markus at the DIA

I wasn’t really ever sure why exactly we were going there until a week after when I was told the history behind the DIA. I throughly enjoyed my time there. The art was amazing and the history now makes me appreciate my time spent there. Next we went to the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center where we spent the night and also got to learn about how it had basically risen from the ground and had nothing but is now something that people travel from out of state to come to.

The next morning we were off to CASS Community Social Services to serve. We were split into groups, my group being the kitchen. In the building where the kitchen there is also a shelter there, which is why they need a kitchen. In the shelter there are three different floors, the first floor is for mothers and children, the second is for veterans, many suffering from PTSD, and the third for men. The kitchen provides three meals a day everyday of the year and week and they serve at least a 1,000 meals a day. One of my tasks was to shred potatoes because they were going to be used to make hash browns for a special breakfast where the veterans in the shelter could come and special order a meal like they were at a diner. This is something that stuck with me the  rest of the day. I have never truly been in Detroit and have only really ever seen the downtown area which is where all the work and re-building is being done. This was the in the outskirts and was in poverty. CASS is a non-profit that is focused on taking care of their people. Providing jobs, food, and shelter. This is so important to have in that area because of the poverty that has struck the people there.

So now, I would like to go back to JRLA and get to know more about it. I learned so much from this part of the trip that I will always have with me. I thought going there that we would be the ‘teachers’ but I learned more from them than I anticipated. Going to Quicken gave me a place where I want to definitely apply for a internship. I can see myself there and I fell in love Detroit from this trip. But CASS gave me the most from this trip. I am not sure if I would go and volunteer there but it makes me want to volunteer more and help those who are trying to help a community. I live near Flint and I understand what is going on there and I want to go and find volunteer opportunities there because I know Flint and I have seen the city deteriorate throughout the years and I know that the city needs some love and if I am able I should be giving it the love it needs.

Now I know I need to do in regards on how to better lead people. I need to be mindful of others comfort levels and to also make sure that I am not automatically trying to take over the situation. I also need to keep an open mind to new learning experiences. Everything is a learning experience that needs to be learned. But now that I have the humbleness in mind I really feel as if I need to volunteer more. I realize how much volunteers are actually needed. I need to volunteer more especially since I am so close to a community in need. Between JRLA and CASS I realize that I needed a reality check and to be thankful for what I have and the life I have and that I also need to share my fortune and bless others the way I have been blessed.

LAS in the “D”

This Friday, February 10th, 2017 I will be going on a service trip in with my LAS cohort. I have heard so many good things about this trip and I am excited for what I will be gaining from this trip. I hope to gain a closer relationship with my cohort and to also have a humbling experience from what I will be seeing and doing in Detroit. I am aware of the poverty that has struck Detroit and the racism that is still present. I know of these things from what I’ve seen in the news and things I’ve heard and seen most of my life.

“Leadership Institute has worked to prepare the next generation of leaders who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live.” 

This trip to Detroit is going to give us more of an understanding of something that most of us have never experienced and I believe that this trip will give us the knowledge we need to continue our leadership in our future wherever we all end up. We are going to carry what we learn on this trip with us for the rest of our lives. I cannot wait to see what I will be able to take away from this trip.

(This is actually my favorite mural in Detroit)

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“YES!” to Leadership

Does a leader come from a “yes” or a “no”? 

I was recently asked this question from a professor in a leadership course. After reading the question and thinking about it for a while I have finally come up with an answer. Yes. A leader comes from a “yes”.

Leaders are not born, they are made. When a leader is chosen they have to say “yes”. Although saying “yes” to everything is very scary, it shows courage to be able to say that small three-letter word because that word means so much. It allows you to be open to new experiences and opportunities. But you have to remember that you wouldn’t be a leader ifyes-we-can you hadn’t said “yes” to that calling. If your followers come to you with an idea and were given “no” as an answer they are going to find another leader that tells them “yes” and you’ve lost your followers. You have to have faith and courage to be able to say “yes” and try to make your followers ideas a reality and when that idea becomes a reality for them they are going to be reminded of why you were chosen for the leader role.

Saying “no” is convenient. It’s much easier to say “no” to something you don’t like or don’t agree with, but where is that going to get you? The answer is no where. If you are just  waiting for an easy idea to come your way that you know can be a reality, why are you in the position of being a leader? Is it to just have the title, or are you in that position to lead? Saying “no” will close you off from doing what seems like the impossible even though it could be possible.

I understand now that in the future I cannot be afraid to say yes. I need to take the step into the unknown to find something that is truly remarkable. Saying no to opportunities in the past has definitely been easy, but being a leader is not easy, it’s supposed to be tough. I want to be a leader that says yes.

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
― Richard Branson

My First Two Months at CMU

August 20th, 2016 – This was a crazy day. I had so many different emotions on my way to campus bright and early that Saturday morning. I was driving my sisters car alone while my parents were about 45 minutes behind me. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Excited because I was moving to a campus I fell in love with the second I step foot on it and also because I was moving out of my house and going to start my adult life. I was also nervous because I was moving to a place that I didn’t know very well. I hadn’t made that many friends that I felt I could trust. At that point in my life I considered myself and ‘outgoing introvert’, but in all honesty, I was an introvert and was too scared to actually try and make friends. I remember that day I was holding back multiple panic attacks and was so completely overwhelmed that I knew if I talked to anyone I wouldn’t be able to hold back my emotions and I would make a complete fool of myself. The only person at this point I actually knew and felt cared to get to know me was my mentor, Garrett. I was not truly happy at this point in my life. I was still upset and petty over relationships that ended in the summer and what had led up to them ending in the prior school year. I was scared to let new people get close to me because I was scared to trust anyone after what I had gone through. It was hard to let people into a world where I was in a constant state of anxiety and felt like I had no control. I just wanted to get through the first two weeks and go home to see my family and my best friend.

October 20, 2016 – It has been a crazy two months. It feels like I haven’t been here for two months, A.K.A 8 WEEKS, it feels like I’ve been here for just a couple weeks. These weeks have been full of stress, full of tears from missing my best friend and missing my family and dogs. But I can honestly say that I haven’t had a panic attack in one month and it is the first month since March that I haven’t had one, and it feels awesome. I have made many friends, a few being my lifelong friends, and those acquaintances who will like the pictures of my children I put on Facebook in the future. I was always told that I would find those people in the first couple months of being here but I didn’t think I would. I thought that some of the friends I made in high school were lifelong friends, but life happens and it’s taken time to forgive, but I am moving on and enjoying life.

When I was in high school, I always thought that I wouldn’t be very outgoing in college because there are so many different people and I would get walked over but that is not the case. I now consider myself an extrovert and it’s the first time I have ever considered myself as outgoing. Recently I have been described as having a “loud personality”. That was new, but exciting.

I can’t say I haven’t missed being at home. And I can’t say I haven’t thought for a full day of dropping out and moving to California, but then was talked out of it by some good friends, so thank you. These past two months haven’t been perfect, but they have been amazing and I can’t wait to see where these next four years take me.

I feel blessed to know that the people who I have surrounded myself with are going to push me to be the best leader I can be and I know that they will help me succeed in my life.

Fire Up Chips!

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

If I was told to choose one word to describe the mentor/mentee retreat I wouldn’t be able to. The different emotions that I felt during that weekend were too many to count. I did a lot of things that I normally wouldn’t have done, I got to spend some time with my mentor, Garrett, and I got to be with my cohort all at one time, which was honestly the first time we had all been together.

To be completely honest, I was not looking forward to this retreat at first. Garrett had made the mistake of telling me about the high ropes course and being someone who has a phobia of heights this was not good. I couldn’t mentally prepare myself this, even though I had known about it for months, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. And to add on my anxiety was through the roof during the whole retreat, but I held it back and didn’t let it out until I had gotten home on Sunday. But when it came to actually doing the course I had gained enough strength mentally to at least try it. So as I was putting on the gear and I was psyching myself up for this course. Garrett had suggested we climb up the ladder that is wooden and just goes straight up and down and I agreed because that seemed like the best option. So he went up first, like a pro, and then it was my turn and I started climbing. I was good until about half way up until I realized exactly how far up I was. So I managed to make it to the top of the ladder which for me was such a big milestone seeing as I wasn’t even going to try. So I think that was the biggest accomplishment from the retreat for me.

But bringing it back I got to be with all of my cohort for two whole days! Seeing that this was the first time we were all together it was amazing. I definitely feel closer and more comfortable with my cohort which is a really good feeling. I’m not always one to talk in group chat or go and just start conversations with people because I just assume people don’t want to talk to me, but that’s just something stems from my anxiety and I’m getting over that. I feel bonded with my cohort and I just feel so blessed to be in such an accepting group of people.

I can’t wait until next year when I get to have that experience with my mentee. I know I have a little bit before I have to think about that, but it will probably come a lot sooner than it seems.

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Leadership Safari 2016

August 20th through August 24th I attended an event called Leadership Safari. Leadership Safari is offered to Central Michigan Universities incoming freshman and transfer students. I didn’t know about the life changing experience I was signing up for, I just wanted to move in 5 days early and get out of my parents house and start my first year of college.

Like I mentioned before I did not know what safari was. All I knew was that it was something to do with leadership and I was in. I hadn’t watched any of the videos from the years prior, I didn’t know how crazy it would be, and I didn’t know about all of the amazing things and friendships I would receive from those five days.

If I had to choose my top three favorite moments from Safari I would have to choose bagging food for kids in the community who do not have access to food outside of school, listening to Michael Miller, and being with Team Starfish the whole time.

I feel like I definitely learned a lot from this week. I was with an amazing group who held no judgment and truly cared what everyone had to say and also what everyone was feeling. I know that had a lot to do with my overall experience at Leadership Safari. I consider myself an outgoing introvert, which is a thing, and sometimes it’s very hard for me to be myself with people I don’t know. Having anxiety doesn’t help with that either. But I learned how to step outside of my comfort zone all over again. About half way through I was able to give 100% in everything that was happening. I was able to be the leader I know I am.

I absolutely recommend Safari to any incoming freshman or transfer student because it is going to open doors for friendships, networking, and is also an amazing learning experience. The amount of knowledge you gain from those five days is impeccable, and there are not many places that can give you that same type of experience. I am so blessed that I chose to go to a college that offers this type of program and encourages everyone to attend, thank you CMU.

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