Monday, June 6, 2011

Across the Stage

In a few hours, I will walk across the stage and gather my Master of Arts degree from Tai Sophia Institute. I started the program, now titled Transformative Leadership and Social Change, in January of 2008. Many things have changed, all for the better, since those first days. Could I catalogue them? Probably. Should I? Perhaps.

At a small gathering yesterday afternoon to celebrate and acknowledge my fellow classmates, I was asked if I was glad I attended. The answer is an unequivocable yes. Then I was asked why and what I had learned. While I have lots of answers, I didn't have "an answer" which surprised me. Maybe in the abundance of answers, I couldn't find only one. Or, I hadn't prepared my elevator speech just yet.

I've spent some time today reflecting on the last three years. I want to remember to appreciate and be grateful for what I've learned. And, I want to get clear on what educational pursuit is next. I am a life-long learner so it is only a matter of time before I enjoy the smell of another new text book.

For today, here is what I'm grateful for having learned:
  • Sometimes, your biggest complaint is your best teacher. Whether that "complaint" comes in the form of a body ache, a person who is "difficult" to deal with or news you didn't want to hear, no matter.
  • The hardest learning we will ever do is to learn about ourselves. It is also the most rewarding.
  • It is not so much the what you are in this life; it is the how.
  • Doing something, at least one thing, you are completely terrified of is a very important lesson in how to grow (mine was singing in public).
  • Often, the best way to be a leader is to ask another question.
  • The pathway to a fulfilling and happy life simply comes from the courage to stand up and own it.
Sure, there were many "academic" pursuits in the program as well... history, philsophy, science to name a few. Many of those were the gateway to expanded thinking, seeing things in a way previously considered impossible and learning to greet something new with wonder instead of suspicion.

You may have noticed the above list isn't "one" answer and maybe there shouldn't be an elevator speech for something such as this. And, maybe there can be so it is something we can all remember. I'll boil it down to this...

Inside each of us is a passion. Pursue it relentlessly and, when you find yours, help others to do the same.

Congratulations to the 2011 class of Tai Sophia Institute.

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