Fierce Conversations

As I attended Connections Conference, one of the educational workshops stuck out to me. That happened to be the Identity and Fierce Conversations workshop. It was put on by Stacy Jaska and Rachelle Stawinski. imageIt really portrayed how our identities really influence the way we communicate with one another. We need to break this barrier, and come out with what we are trying to say and not hold back. We must concentrate on the meaningful, beneficial conversations while keeping in mind that our identity carries a role in the triumph of being an exceptional communicator.

In these conversations as a leader we must step up to the plate and have these interactions with people. We must master the courage to interrogate reality, come out from behind yourself and make the conversation real, be prepared to be nowhere else except the conversation, tackle your toughest challenge, remain still to your instincts, take responsibility to your emotional wake, and finally let silence do the heavy talking. Those are the 7 principles of having those tough conversations, now put it to the test.

 

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COM267L Reflection

This class is a requirement for the LAS protocol. That means that I got to take it with half of the members of my cohort which was around 20 or more. At the beginning of the year I was excited to take this class because it would allow me to grow as not only a speaker, but in ways to be more argumentative. This did not happen though. I thought that it was one of my most dreaded classes. Our professor, Dr. Kai, was very well rounded and was able to let me see the areas I needed to develop more in, but he wanted us to debate primarily on politics.

He referred to us as his Master Debaters every time he walked into class by saying, “Good afternoon Master Debaters,” and we’d have to respond with, “Good afternoon Dr. Kai.” I feel like he was unsure if he wanted to be serious with us or joke with us during the semester. Eventually he warmed up to us and we would have our laughs.

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Our class Halloween party  where we all dressed up as “The Master Debater”.

Even though this class overall was not my favorite, I would have to say that it has made me realize what places I need to improve on while debating. Since I know the general areas I need to work on you’d think that I’d know how to fix them right?  I expected to get input from the debates so we could fix those problems the next time we went to debate, but we didn’t debate that many times anyways. Our first debate was dragged on because we had to do research on the resolved and form arguments which is understandable, but then he had to give us quizzes on material he didn’t go over which would have helped substantially in our debates. The only skill that I picked up from this class is how to find information on Cmu’s database in the library (even though he showed  us how to do this AFTER we got all of our briefs/information for the debate).

I can see how this relates to leadership in that every great leaders should possess argumentative skills, but we spent over half the semester doing basically everything reverse of how we were suppose to do it with little to no feedback. As a leader, I will strive to tackle these breaks in my argumentation and create ways to enable my ability to ague better in the long run. As the semester Dr. Kai warmed up to all of us and he did do a good job with the class, he just needed to come in a little more prepared.

Can I get a Wolf Wolf?!

Great Wolf Lodge was the place to be the weekend of November 7th-8th. They hosted a conference put on by Central Michigan University called Connections.

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The host of the 2015 Connections Conference.

The whole thing behind connections was to build your leadership skills within yourself for the organizations you went there for, but it was also to build connections with the others around you so campus could be connected a grow together. This conference was a success in my eyes. Once we got there we were separated into institutes named after people who impacted campus and promoted connections on campus as well. My institute was Coles Institute.

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Asset Map for Coles Institute.

Within those groups we created an asset map that connects all of our assets together to show that they all coincide and rely on one another. Whether it was an individual asset, institutional, organizational, whatever it was we wrote it down. We can all feed off of each other and become assets for one another.

Throughout the day we went to educational sessions that branched off onto many different topics on leadership. I loved these because they educated you on things that will actually help you tackle problems that surface either when you’re in a rut, struggling with time, or conversations.

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Sarah Wheeler, friend from class, connecting our friendship.

Everyone would say that the water park and the pizza speed dating was probably the best part about connections because it was the time to connect with the people around you. With the help of connections I was able to see that our campus is filled with several people, and probably more, who are filled with the passion to make a difference at CMU. If we could bring all of these people together, we could make Centrals campus a great one.

I got A Spark in my Leadership

“Leadership is influence; nothing more, nothing less.”                                                                                                     ~John C. Maxwell

Spark leadership is exactly what the words say. You’re sparking and starting a fire in your leadership. Although some people may say this series was a lot like other leadership camps we’ve been to, I would say that they were right but it was different in a  way as well. imageSpark not only introduced me to different people here on campus, it introduced me to the many things I can portray my leadership into such as clubs, organizations, and volunteering. For me, Spark was an enriching experience.

Session 1: Apple Pie!

As we all came in,everyone was split into different group. My groups name was Team Motivation. We all were there for a common reason that we all shared. That was leadership. As the day went on we created our goals and other guidelines that we wanted to complete as we went through this series. My goal was to get more involved, develop more leadership skills, and to get out of my comfort zone. Our group goal was to build each other up, motivate one another, smile, and to keep our goals in the long run. Also, apple pie was implemented in that as well (group inside joke).

Session 2 & 3: Leadership Style/Development

I came is with the previous knowledge that my leadership style was spirited. To take the test again and get the same thing was no surprise to me. I like to get a group pumped up and have enthusiasm for what we are doing.

I am also on the considerate side as well so while I get people hype I like to make sure everyone feels included and has put in their two cents. While I know that being too spirited can get in the way of the goal, I know how to control the situation when its at hand and I’m able to work with other leadership styles to enhance mine. Some things I said I needed to work on was to think more thoroughly instead of just encouraging people and to speak up. I can begin to practice the act of time meaning using time to think through a situation rather than rationally acting on it. Develop a plan before jumping in is how I will continually try to reinvent my leadership skills.

“A good leader inspires others with confidence in her; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.”     ~Raymond Dreyfack

Session 4: Culture

As we were put through a so called game we had to abide by our cites rules and not step out of the boundaries or you’ll be frowned upon. Several of us probably thought that this game was silly and all the things we were doing. Ever so often they would send a group of our people in exchange for another group of people from the other territory. laI happened to be one who went over to the other side and boy was it confusing. Everyone was speaking a different language and were treating you differently and walking away. As we reflected back on this game, it came into realization that it was supposed to resemble cultural diversity today and how people aren’t accepted for who or what they are just based on the way they do things. This brought aspect into my eyes in showing that its important to communicate and be able to learn world views so you can become widely diverse.

 

Mentors, Mentees and Retreat OOH MY!

One of the most unique things about the Leaders Advancement Scholarship is being able to have a mentor there for you, as well as your cohort, as you transition into college life. One way for you to develop that relationship and get to know every one in your cohort more is at the Mentor Mentee Retreat at Eagle Village. In my case, the day when the retreat started just happened to be the same day as a football game where I had to march for band, but that didn’t stop me from going! As soon as the game was done we worked our way up there so we could be there for the last day of activities.

My mentor, Taylor Brown has been a huge help in my first year here at CMU. The fact that we have so much in common, according to goals as to where we’re going in life with our careers, and random things in general just makes her the absolute best mentor. Once I arrived at Eagle Village everyone was surrounding a camp fire after a long day of activities. The campfire talk was prime bonding time where everyone opened up and shared tips, stories, friendships made, or just information about college in general.

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The next day was a day filled with challenge. In order to take a relationship/friendship further you have to instill a level of trust with in one another. This obstacle was going to be on a high ropes course. Being a natural dare devil at heart, I have completed ropes course before as well as my mentor so we decided to take it a step further to implement a challenge on ourselves. We went on the course BLINDFOLDED!!

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The struggle in my face from taking this course the hard way through!

It was a challenge we were willing and ready to take. Being blindfolded created a level of vulnerability that you had to overcome. Having Taylor there through this task made it a whole lot easier. We were basically each others set of eyes as we went across the obstacle. For the most part everything wasn’t too bad and the course was pretty easy! But then came the jump! The jump at the end didn’t seem like it would be the worst part, but if Taylor wouldn’t have been there to give me support and everyone else there saying it was okay it would have taken me forever to jump! At the end I feel like the mentor mentor retreat is great and they should keep it going on forever! Even though I didn’t get to spend the full fledge time with every one, I was still able to create those bonds everyone says comes out of this! I love my class and I love LAS!

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My LAS family tree!

Watch this * video here* to see what the fun is all about!