Growing up with a foundation of a deep and abiding faith, I have always embraced the idea behind the idea from the Bible in Luke 12:48:
To who much has been given, much is required...
I am keenly aware that I have been the recipient of many blessings in this life and this is the reflection of a recent one in my journey.
Key Takeaways from a Presidential Leadership Scholar After Module 1
Presidential Leadership Scholar. Those are weighty words of significance and deep meaning. Each word on its own accord stands tall and proud as descriptors of something special. When combined, however, they are translated into something spectacular.
The Presidential Leadership Scholar program is a partnership between the Presidential Libraries and Foundations of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. A unique colloquium of democratic and republican leaders each with their own unique challenges and opportunities. While each president is certainly unique in his style and leadership, they are all united by two things: 1) the presidency, and 2) their love for this great nation and deep-rooted belief that the United States of America remains the greatest country on this earth. These two thoughts transcend partisan politics and provide genuine hope for the future of the republic.
The Presidential Leadership Scholars program selects around sixty individuals from around the nation from very diverse backgrounds, industries, locations, ideologies, and almost any other way you can define diversity. These scholars embark on a six-month intensive journey together in deep introspection of their own leadership path as well as experience opportunities to hone their skills and create lasting relationships with their unique co-journeymen.
The program goes deep—very quickly. This is my attempt at sense-making as well as taking what I believe to be some of the most poignant moments, ideas, and lessons that can be applied for anyone.
Lesson One: Todd Connor, a PLS Alumni, was one of our first speakers. In his words, he gave us permission and the tools to experience and express our feelings. One of the take-aways that I had from his talk was a question followed by a challenge:
The Question: For whom do you do this Work? The Challenge: Put a picture of them in your journal and say their names.
When your mission has a face and names, it becomes personal.
Lesson Two: Captain Victor Glover, an astronaut who had recently returned from a six-month stint at the International Space Station, was one of our speakers. Of course, he allowed us to share in his remarkable journey from preparation to blast off to re-entry. There were three themes from his talk that resonated with me:
1) Your mission deeply impacts your family and friends, who because of their love for you, are along for the journey.
2) Nothing is more important than what you are doing right now. This speaks of intentionality and priority. If it is important enough to require your attention, then it demands your full attention.
3) Invest all you can in relationships. You never know when you will need them and you can’t start investing in them when the need arrives.
We traveled to Washington DC as individual strangers with only a few previously existing connections within the group. When we left, we left as a family of sorts brought together by our shared experiences and commitment to making a lasting impact in our own respective communities. Another recurring theme is that this “network of individuals” that includes Alumni of the program are so eager to help each other as was evidenced over and over both during the module and even through social media outside of the module.
One lingering question remains that must be answered by all of us who shared this experience: what will we do now with the information that we have gained? I am strongly convicted that this is a precious gift that demands that we take action with our newly gained knowledge and relationships.
Already, I have applied some of the items to my life as a leader as I am now even more boldly confronting my leadership journey and my interactions with others. I am also more intentional and seek to be even more intentional about where I invest my time, my relational capital, and my focus so that it true adds value to others.
I look forward to the next module and will continue to capture my thoughts as a way to share the knowledge with others and to hold myself accountable.