One of my exponentially expanding joys in life is the opportunity to serve as an educator for a wide range of audiences. Be it administrators looking to enhance authenticity and balance within the workplace, clients of a psychotherapy center seeking to live more mindful and healthier lives, college students looking to grow and be of service to others, psychology students hoping to learn applicability rather than just terms and conference attendees hoping to work through imposter syndrome to become truer versions of themselves.
Each day I wake up thinking “I get to do this work. I get to plant seeds and watch them grow. I get to make an impact“.
Take a moment, and ask yourself…”Why am I here?” Dive deeply into that question because there are myriad gifts on the other side of the answer. This is the question I began asking myself years ago and one of the tools that placed me on a clear path towards a more purposeful, mindful and authentic life.
This weekend I had the absolute honor and joy of offering a workshop during the 2020 Latinx Leads Conference. While there, we looked at storying telling as a means of catharsis and growth, code switching, imposter syndrome and Yosso’s Cultural Wealth Model. The amazing Jessi Gramajo and I got to speak on the aforementioned topics, share our stories and assist an intentionally engaged group of Latinx students seeking to both live and lead from their truest selves.
A couple Fridays ago Patrick Sheehan and I had the distinct opportunity of offering a session on authentic leadership for the Strategic Administrative Leadership Team (a.k.a. SALT) of Westchester Community College. A year after our presentation on Purpose and Mindfulness, they asked us to come back and further assist them with the development of a genuine, more present and healthier workforce. Utilizing scientifically backed tools from positive psychology and mindfulness practices we engaged a room of 60 + senior leaders (including WCC’s President, Vice Presidents, and Directors among others) that directly impact the lives of thousands on a day to day basis.
In January I organized a reunion with the 2019 Orientation Leader/Orientation Coordinator team of Westchester Community College. This group of students has grown so very much since they first trained in the arts of authentic, intentional and servant leadership during the 2019 Orientation season. We laughed, shared stories and reminisced about their most inspiring, growth filled and challenging moments from the Orientation Leader Program. The ability to oversee this program is an honor that I’m grateful for each and every morning. These are the young leaders of both today and tomorrow and the ones our world is fortunate enough to have within its midst.
In December, my co-facilitator Tiago Machado and I wrapped up another successful Commit to Change Leadership experience. As pros in the art of the silly face and also the social change model of leadership, these students spent exactly 12 weeks enhancing themselves, opening their hearts/minds and committed to being of service to others for the sake of societal enhancement. Every Friday, they worked on skills such as public speaking, communication, collaborative arts, and much, much more.
The first class of the Mindful Warrior Program graduated in 2019 folks! For 8 weeks these students joined me in asking and answering the question “How can I be a more authentic, present and servant leader in a world filled with both negative and positive stressors?”. In the end, each one gained tools for self-reflection, the minimization of negative stress and the enhancement of intentional decision making. WOW! Somehow I get to develop and offer this stuff! Truth is, it all started with that one question…Why am I here?”
They worked intentionally, committed themselves to growth through service and after they arrived, they won! The Westchester Events Board through the advisement of Marco Lazaro, Jessi Gramajo and myself won the 2019 Excellence in Programming Award at the 2019 National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Northwest Regional Conference. My Co-Advisors and I got to support these students in the development and offering of life-changing programs aimed at enhancing the lives of WCC students. Each moment of supporting them with their award winning programs and presentation was one that I spent filled with absolute honor and joy. By sharing our truths, love and wisdom, a hardworking group of students got to rep their school for the hundreds of students, professionals, and administrators in attendance.
Over the summer I spent a weekend in the woods with nearly 50 students from a wide range of backgrounds. These students arrived wanting to better themselves and left with newly created bonds, an increased sense of self, a series of tools such as non-violent communication, conscious listening, intentional programming and much, much more.
Ask yourself “Why am I here?”. It just might take you to a world you may never have imagined or even considered to be possible.