The past 9 years in October, I have been invited to facilitate an all-morning presentation on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence for Powerful Leaders at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Every year a diverse group of about 40 participants from all sectors of society enroll in this Policy Fellows program. It is one of the country’s most respected public affairs leadership experiences for emerging and mid-career professionals. Each person is there to have a positive impact in the world and to make difference. They cultivate their intentions and abilities to create policies and lead supporting the full potential of their organizations and teams. I was SO INSPIRED!
During this November with voting next week around our country, we are pummeled with propaganda intended to distort the facts, polarize citizens, and encourage the audience to vote against ‘someone or something they hate on.’ In case you are unfamiliar with the term hate on, it means “to criticize someone or say bad things about them, in an unpleasant and public way.” My experience with the policy fellows was the antithesis of this unproductive rhetoric.
During our morning together, we engaged in several exercises and discussions to highlight our strengths, operational styles, emotional, social, and conversational intelligence. One by one the ‘students’ became more empowered as they claimed their gifts and talents, honored one another’s inherent styles and preferences, and deeply listened.
They realized the power of managing their over-reactivity and not feeling threatened or overwhelmed minimizing the need to protect and defend their ‘right opinion.’ This liberated them to invite others to share an opposing point of view.
The insights and ah-has for each person in the room were profound. The honest and vulnerable deep dive into themselves was energizing. Developing these skills also accelerates the confidence to remain true and respectful to self. This fostered a larger capacity to listen, influence, and coach others they lead and work with.
During the year we did not meet in person, I created this video as an overview for our online discussion and experiential exercises. If you are interested, you can learn more about these topics here.
As always when I present, I sprinkle in stories I have recently encountered. We wove in acknowledging great acts of leadership we have witnessed locally and globally. We are all invited to step into leadership formally or informally every day. I shared the story of my son who recently became the captain of his team in his chosen profession. Along with the formal leadership, he provides to the players and staff, he was called to step into being a spokesperson during a time of tragedy in his community. His embodiment of the leadership skills we discussed during our morning at the Humphrey Institute is so encouraging! You can learn more about him here.
Take time to reflect on the opportunities you have in your life to level up your mindfulness, emotional, social, and conversational intelligence.
This will provide you with more capacity to support you in living an empowered and authentic life.
VOTE! Be a great leader and BUILD TRUST in your family and community gatherings in the upcoming holiday season. The world needs you in your full power now more than ever!