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Sunday, April 7, 2013

guest post: leadershape reflections

I have the incredible fortune to be a part of an amazing organization called LeaderShape (, and it has changed my life for the better. I first participated in their week-long leadership institute back in '05 when I was a college student and have stayed involved ever since that time. A few years ago I was thrilled to be invited into their Lead Facilitator community, and this weekend the entire Lead community will gather again in Chicago for their annual training. I am devastated that I cannot be there this year—especially since I’ve seen my LeaderShape “family” once a year since ’05!

What I love so much about LeaderShape, and the Lead Retreat specifically, is that they focus on the personal growth and development of their individual community members because they know that their program will be stronger if their people are too.  At last year's Lead Retreat they asked us to perform an exercise where we went around our small group tables introducing ourselves in the third person and never stating the most common introductory attributes: job title, place of employment, educational background, etc. All of the things listed on our resumes, but that don't really tell others who we are deep down.

I started at our table and quickly discovered that while the activity was awkward because speaking in third person isn't the most natural process, what was most challenging about it was that outside of my work I didn't really know who I was. I continued to listen to the others describe in vivid detail who they were, their positive influences, what gave them joy and what inspired them. This simple activity startled me on a personal level, and I couldn't help but think, "who am I?"

So I've been reflecting on that and figuring it out ever since. And, I know that if I were to be there with them this weekend I would eagerly share:

Mallory is a southern girl.
Mallory is a daughter, a sister and an aunt at her core.
She is an unwavering friend.
And, while Mallory loves to travel and move, her heart will always be with her loved ones back "home."
Mallory is hard-working and career-focused.
Her calling is definitely working with college students.
But, recently Mallory learned that she is more than her work...

Mallory is an aspiring yogini.
Mallory is an avid reader.
She is a baker and soon-to-be cook.
She is a music lover and yearns to use her own voice to express herself.
She is creative, and always ready for a new adventure.
She is responsible, authentic, and works on being vulnerable every day.
She has a lot of love in her heart and shares it freely.
She is an old-soul.
She is ready to share her soul with another. 

So even though I can’t be there with my LeaderShape family this weekend, the inner-work still continues. And I can’t help but thank and appreciate the staff there at LeaderShape for helping us all become the best versions of our selves.  

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