Personal Sun meditation in action

[For my Dreamers & Schemers]

seven

A lot of people ask me how I get my meditation and yoga practice “off the mat.” Today provided a really good occasion for me to break down exactly how I do this multiple times throughout my day, and for that I’m truly grateful. This story really begins late last night, when I went to bed already concerned about whether or not I would attend both my morning aerial hammock conditioning and my afternoon flying trapeze class. (more…)

Project and people management

This summer has been one long learning opportunity for the Emerging Leaders and me. With everyone’s schedules shifting over the summer, it’s been challenging getting regular meetings together, so it’s taken an extra toll on me to keep everyone abreast. The ridiculousness of the situation really stands out as I type that last sentence. Why is it my job always to be herding cats?

The obvious answer that it took me months to arrive at is: It isn’t. This year has been a crash course in management, which is very distinct from leadership (last year’s lesson). Just because a process appears plain and simple to me does not mean it will be readily adopted by my young people.

Something as simple as group communication is a cumbersome process. In my twenties email was—and continues for me today—to be the easiest way to communicate, both socially and professionally. To be honest, we are still trying to determine what platform works best for group communication. For a long while the temporary solution was redundancy: I would send out a group email, a group text, and then follow up with individual texts and phone calls.

This eventually became unsustainable on all sorts of levels for me. The upside of me going virtually insane from all this coordination work is that it forced me to take to heart certain management lessons (with many, many thanks to my husband—my acting CTO and executive coach): (more…)

The ethics of program design in youth development

One of the higher compliments anyone can pay me for my work is something along the lines of “I would love to take that workshop myself!” or “My high school- / college-aged kid could use that program!” or better yet, “Everyone could use a program like that.” Technically, I design programs for so-called “at-risk” youth, but all that really means is being sensitive to certain needs and understanding the institutional context of their lives. What I am actually striving to create are programs with a much wider appeal—wider because in the end they aren’t aimed at “troubled youth,” but at our shared humanity.

As human beings we all unfold in our own time, and that process is never smooth or evenly-paced. Some of us encounter great challenges very early on. This may appear to “set us back,” but only if we succumb to the bad habit of measuring ourselves against others, or—more accurately—against some kind of social norm that demands we be self-sufficient and clearly on our way to some narrow, preconceived notion of success by our mid-twenties. Another view is to approach these challenges as tests. And if we have the tools and the space to reflect on those significant life experiences, we can use them as learning opportunities and even a source of strength.

Note that this is a very individualized and forgiving view of human development, and one that can resonate throughout a lifetime if we continue to sit with it. Within this framework, I am creating a support system for young people during the critical, early years of emerging adulthood, when many of them exit care with the scantest of resources. The outcomes I shoot for are nothing less than what many people wish for their own children: personal well-being and professional fulfillment. We want to give them the very best so they can be their very best. But how can this happen if we push them through programs that are designed according to preconceived and misguided notions of their capabilities?

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What is your roadmap for change?

Another middle-of-the-night quick resource share: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in collaboration with Organizational Research Services (ORS), presents this document on how to construct a theory of change that describes how you intend to create impact by building on various outcomes that ultimately lead to your organizational goal (i.e., some form Read more…

Walking the walk

The reading and work I’ve been doing on marketing is more interesting than I expected. It’s requiring me to take stock of my strengths, identify areas where I could use some help, and—the hardest of all—set long term goals. It’s easy for me to set goals for myself in the Read more…