Today I graduated from adult camp. Not kidding. After spending a week at a leadership camp retreat, I crossed over the rainbow bridge to adulthood, to leadership. And because you’re all my peeps, or you soon will be, I’m going to share some of this wisdom for free. Get ready, friends, I am going to save you thousands of dollars that you can spend on whatever makes your soul sing and heart beat faster.
- First day of adult camp is like the first day of school. Everybody is flashing their finest clothes and seeing where they are going to fall in the pecking order. Remember clothes are armor and in new and intimidating situations one must suit up. By the end of the week jeans prevailed. If I had stayed one more day I would’ve shown up in yoga pants. You have got to get down to the jeans and yoga pants level if you’re going to be real.
- Listening is important. Not kidding. I don’t listen the way I should, chances are that you don’t either. There is a significant difference between listening to get the gist of something and being really intentional about listening for understanding. A good listener is hearing what is being said and sensing what is unsaid. Being really listened to feels incredibly good. Try it.
- Invite new people to your lunch table. To your board room. To your classroom. To your life. I’m an abstract person. I see a haunted spooky forest where concrete thinkers see approximately 20 trees. You need both at your table.
- Trust people that know more than you. I found myself on the first day of camp looking around smirking as the seasoned instructors said that by the end of the week we would reflect on this time spent as one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. I was wrong. They were right.
- Adult camp food is WAYYYYY better than summer camp. Shrimp, scallops, steak, salmon? And you can drink legally, as opposed to sneaking in a stolen wine cooler from the garage fridge.
- I probably don’t speak the same language as you and certainly not the same language as my husband. He gets hopped up about a new calculation in a P & L. I look at him like a deer in the headlights. I tell him that the color of my daughter’s nursery doesn’t feel right and makes me so incredibly sad I want to cry. He looks at me like I have lost my mind. Find out what language you speak and those that you love. It will save time and hurt. We all have filters. I say green. You say grass. I say leprechaun. Make sure you’re on the same page or at least in the same damn book.
- Compliments, really thoughtful positive assessments, feel better than sex. Well, mostly. Take the time to write down five things you love and appreciate about someone. You’ll be amazed watching their entire face light up.
- Every community needs leaders. You are probably one already. Stop standing on the sidelines. Dig in. The world needs you. Your community needs you. Yes, you.
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One thought on “Graduating from adult camp…”
I had the fortune to attend the same “adult camp” two weeks ago. It was transformative. And yes, the sorrow of parting from 25 people who you didn’t know, barely knew, or perhaps thought you knew but who have now become part of your family in a mere five days, is indescribable. Thank you Bridget for trying to do so!
The beauty of this camp is that you leave with skills and community partners that empower you to come back to your home community to work together tackling issues and needs.
Before camp I thought communication was a set of skills. I learned it is shared understanding. You can be the best communicator in the world, but if you don’t create a shared meaning and understanding around the issue or idea, you have not successfully Communicated.
I learned we all have power and that it is neither good nor bad. It is how we use it. Perhaps the greatest misuse of power is when we hold on to our power and don’t use it at all. To tackle the complex issues facing our community and our world we need everyone to step forward into their power. In the game of life there is a position for everyone!
I learned that I have been working outside of my personality preferences for the past 12 years and it is time to move into life work that uses my strengths and ENFP preferences more effectively so that I can contribute in a way that nourishes and not depletes.
I learned that each and everyone of us is a community leader and that we need to be intentional about making sure that everyone’s voice can be heard.
I learned for every issue or idea we have that we want to work on solving in our community there are going to be people who support it and people who oppose it. The people that most of us neglect to invite to the conversation are those who are opposed. Regardless of the issue, we have much to learn from their perspective and it is critical to understand this. I also learned we often neglect those who are most supportive and yet these are the ones who we most need to nurture. Not because they are going to change their mind on the topic but because they are the most deserving of our support and yet are the ones we often neglect to tell how much we appreciate them. In some cases this is our mother or spouse or our boss. In other cases it is another community leader.
Whether you have had the fortune of attending the Blandin Community Leadership Program or not just know that for our community to be healthy, you matter. You have something to contribute that no one else can. Your ideas, dreams, and hopes for our community have a place at the table and there are 26 people who have just returned from a skill building week that are energized to work together for our common good. Reach out to them and you will be amazed what will happen.