the next step

The past two weeks have been quite a milestone for us. Hosting our first ever SHARE group (and one of Canada’s first), reaching 100 Facebook likes, getting our first attendee, and having another awesome person join our team.

We also had the pleasure of attending this year’s UBC Student Leadership Conference: The Next Step. There were wonderful presentations, workshops and keynotes, which all gave us various perspectives as to how to take our next steps in our personal and professional lives.

Opening keynote Shaifali Puri asked us, basing her questions on one of Benjamin Franklin’s own, “What do I want to contribute, and what can I contribute? What do I want to learn, and what do I need to learn.” What jumped out to me here is the gap between the want, can and need. Just because we want something to happen, it does not mean that we have the capacity or ability to make that happen. However, even though we might not have these resources currently, that’s where we can reach out to others who do, to fill that gap, and together, contribute to a mutual goal. Her questions prompted us to reflect. Is this something you want? If it is, is it something you can? And is it something you need? In the past, the desire and need for creating and developing SHARE was very evident, in me, and also in our community. However, those could not be met with facility at the time. It reminded me of the importance of evaluating my own capacity, and recognizing that in order to contribute fully to anything, I must first look inwards and ensure that I have accounted for my own needs, so that I can then give my best to others.

One speaker, Logan Graham, an astounding human himself, validated my current compass of being a leader, by summarizing it into 3 steps: 1. Be weird, 2. Be bad, 3. Be reflective. It was quite validating to see that I was not the only person who seems to not only be weird, but also thrive on my weirdness. I think that makes me who I am today, and has played into many of my leadership and simply human roles in life. Being bad is extremely crucial: we cannot always be an expert and excel at everything, more so than not, the most growth happens when we do something poorly or make a mistake, and then from it revise our approach the next time. Lastly, being reflective of ourselves, knowing our headspace, being aware of situations, is also a key to leading successfully by not overwhelming ourselves beyond our ability.

First meeting everThe first SHARE meeting was extremely exciting, however, not as exciting as our second meeting, when we got our first attendee! Woohoo! Natasha and I took this opportunity to test out the structure of our meeting and ask for any feedback and suggestions. We started off the meeting by introducing ourselves, going through the guidelines and asking if there was anything else they wanted to add to create a safe space. Our guidelines were well received, and we moved onto the opening mindfulness activity. I used  a 10-minute guided meditation from Headspace, as that is a program that I’ve recently taken up and find to be quite useful (and can I say, his voice is sooo amazingly sexy?). Afterwards, we talked a bit about how we all felt about the activity. The rest of the meeting was allotted for check-ins, where we go around and talk about what’s on our mind, and we ended the meeting discussing the incredibly drastic differences found between mental health professionals. Our attendee suggested finding a shorter beginning activity, as 10 minutes seemed a bit too long for their liking, and also switching mindfulness activities up each week so it wouldn’t become repetitive. Some different ones we brainstormed were the number game, mental imagery adventures, and another game that involves getting up and moving around rather than the typical sitting and breathing activities. We will be trying those out in the following meetings to come.

Wednesday was also a great day because we met with our new team member, Katherine, and welcomed her. It was really nice to have new input and perspectives on SHARE, and we also focussed a lot on how we plan on promoting ourselves, make connections, and create sustainability. These conversations are to be continued, and we look forward to making more progress in those areas in the coming months.

As I finish writing, I recall what the SLC closing keynote Derreck Kayongo said to us, “Sometimes bad experiences happen so they lead us to a problem we need to solve”.

All in all, it’s been a busy two weeks full of baby steps.

Baby steps add up.

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