This month’s challenge has two parts: reflecting on your life as it is being lived out (i.e. your personal identity), and then digging deeper to take historical, cultural, and political factors into consideration (i.e. your social identity). If the first part is about identifying the signposts on your life-path, the second is about seeing that path winding through the map of its cultural and political context. All links are included at the end of this article to reduce distraction while still providing rabbit-holes (and citations).
Part 1: Developing your ‘life narrative’
This exercise draws directly from an article in The Leadership Quarterly we read in my MIT class ‘Leading Creative Teams’. It talks about different types of leadership (we’ll get more into that in upcoming months), asserting that one trait common to all outstanding leaders is how they respond to crises. Continue reading
Last year, I took a class at MIT called ‘Leading Creative Teams’ and one of the major assignments was to complete a version of the Reflected Best Self (RBS) Portrait. The RBS is a feedback-seeking exercise developed by researchers at Harvard and Michigan that I found to be really insightful for three reasons:
Firstly, it focuses on identifying strengths rather than areas for improvement. As a perfectionist trained to spot errors, glitches, lapses, contradictions, mistakes, anomalies (you get my drift) it was refreshing to seek out, for once, what absolutely shines. The RBS reoriented how I evaluate myself. Continue reading
As 2016 draws to a close, I am grateful that I can look back on a year that was often overwhelming and exhausting with a sense of clarity. I can see when I said ‘yes’ too often, when my efforts to attain perfection were misplaced, when I could have jettisoned activities without guilt, and – most importantly – how I will fill my life with in the new year.
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such a sense of calm or joy in anticipation of a new year.
This feeling is certainly influenced by a Building Bridges planning session with co-conspirators Irfadha Muzammil and Amalini de Sayrah this morning, and the monster spring (winter?) cleaning session I undertook in anticipation of my impending move to Stanford for the first half of 2017, but that’s not all it is. Continue reading
A. Leading for the future
When asked to define leadership at the beginning of the year, I proposed we do away with the idea altogether, encouraging networks of interdependent and supportive collaborators instead.
Now that the year has come to a close, I’m not sure if I stand by my definition. On the one hand, I think that’s still my goal – to encourage those I work with to each take the lead in their areas. On the other hand, I have come to accept that this kind of encouragement is itself a form of leadership. It doesn’t happen automatically; it requires intent and skill.
I’m more prepared now to wholeheartedly accept the definition by Stephen Covey that I posted at the beginning of the year: to communicate to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
Based on what I’ve learned this year about listening to myself and my body, I would go a little further. Continue reading
Part 1: Life Audit
I chose to do the Life Audit, which got a little challenging around the 50-goal mark, but then I got a burst of inspiration towards the end. The things about having 100 goals, I’ve noticed, is that you can be a bit “wasteful”, which is a great way for figuring out what you want more of in life. In my case, it was art – opportunities to create and engage in a bit of pottering around. 27 of my post-its had a wish that was art-related, whether it was learning to knit or taking an improv class. I don’t think I can realistically take up all 27, but it’s an indicator that I need at least one. Continue reading
This is a story about a magic wardrobe – but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
So let me start by asking you a question. How many of you believed in Santa Claus when you were little? I certainly did. I believed in Santa long after I’d given up on fairies, and witches, and thinking that if I concentrated hard enough, I’d be able to fly. Year after year, when I opened my eyes on Christmas morning, I would find myself surrounded by toys. Model trains and Lego sets, Barbie dolls, books, puzzles, one of those early Super Soakers – you name that 90s toy, I got it for Christmas.
Let me be clear, though. It wasn’t because I got a lot of toys that I believed. Continue reading
This bibliography is a bit of a mixed bag, but as I mentioned in my end-of-term reflection, I see the readings circling around two themes: tribe-making vs. social inclusion as well as the role of arts-based learning in teaching skills required for the future of work. Now that I have a sense of what themes interest me most, I will do more concentrated reading in these areas. Continue reading
Being in this class was difficult and frustrating, and I am a little surprised at my choice of words because I also enjoyed it very much, so I think it’s worth reflecting on why this is, as well as how I would describe my progress over the course of the term. Continue reading
Prompt: Write an updated version of your Network Participation Rubric.
Response: You can find a template for the rubric here. Below is mine — it’s changed a lot of over the past month, in part because the readings are so new to me that I want to be able to sit with them, understand the concepts I’m being introduced to, and see where exploring them takes me. Also, my original bibliography proposal is somewhat outside the scope of this half-term class; I’m hoping it will inform an independent study next term.
Sri Lankan newspaper The Island ran an article on HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, and included a segment on the Queen’s Young Leaders and the work I do. You can read it here.