Does Personal Responsibility sound like a burden to you; like more than you really want to take on? Believe me, I totally get it. How can one person be responsible for a larger system? In the old paradigm where personal responsibility seems to be heavy and unattainable and the system appears to be a separate entity, it will feel impossible. Let’s reframe this.
What if I told you that the deeper your acceptance of personal responsibility, the greater your experience of freedom? That’s right. As we step into greater and greater levels of responsibility in our lives, we will liberate ourselves.
Responsibility is not so much about taking on more tasks, more obligations, and increased activities. It is not about doing more. The word responsibility refers to our capacity to respond. How do you respond to the demands of your daily life? How do you respond to the needs of others? How do you respond to your own needs?
So, what is responsibility?
Responsibility is not about blame or fault finding. In deep levels of personal responsibility, you are not asked to take on the behavior of other people, to “right” all the “wrongs” you perceive in the world. You are called to explore your perceptions and interpretations of what is happening around you. You are responsible for how you choose to think and feel about situations you find yourself in. You are called to examine your belief systems and the ways in which you view yourself, your life and other people. Being responsible means accessing clarity and intuition so that you are guided from within as you take the next steps and act in the world.
At the depths of personal responsibility, you recognize that the system does not exist outside of you. You are in it and the impact is reciprocal. As you act, you impact upon the system and as the system evolves, you are impacted personally.
Personal responsibility means that you decide how you will contribute to the bigger picture and how you will allow yourself to be impacted by it. That is freedom.
Leadership is An Energy
We often think of Leadership as a position. We assign the power of leadership to specific roles in our organizations such as the Executive Director, Program Managers, CEO’s, The Board. Let’s take an alternative perspective.
Leadership is an energy that anyone can possess regardless of your formal role within your organization. Leadership is about stepping into your personal power in ways that allow you to maintain integrity and live in alignment with your beliefs and values.
As you embrace the depths of your personal power, you take the leadership role in your own life. You direct the course of your day, the course of your life and the course of your career. This is not about controlling situations or people; rather it is about taking the reigns of your personal experience. We all filter what happens in and around us through our own personal lens. Taking responsibility for your worldview and self-image gives you the potential to shift paradigms both within your own life and within the systems you work in.
Accepting the leadership position in your life gives you a sense of your own capacity and ability to create change, to manage change AND to be the change.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Sandi Boucher who is a proud Anishnaabequek (Ojibwe Woman) from Seine River First Nation in northern Ontario, Canada, and an internationally recognized Speaker, Author and Activist for Indigenous peoples from all areas of the globe.
Additionally, she is a strong advocate for respectful and mutually beneficial cross-cultural relationships and partnerships that honour wisdom and not just education. She is not only a trained Master Facilitator of “The Bridging Principles”, an internationally recognized cross-cultural communications seminar, but she was named Chief Operations Officer of The Bridging Principles in September 2016, allowing her to be instrumental to audiences and within the organization as well.
Known for her personal and passionate speaking style, Sandi started her international speaking career in 2009 with the creation of TraditionallySpeaking.ca Indigenous Speaker’s Network. Through the network she offered seminars, workshops, and speeches, all while marketing and promoting the other speakers that joined her network.
Sandi’s audiences are varied and include elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools; colleges and universities; numerous First Nation communities and agencies; along with countless national, international, and regional conferences. In August of 2016, the Network converted to an Indigenous Speakers Academy, through which Sandi now passes on all she has learned on her success-filled journey in the hopes of truly empowering more Indigenous voices.
Sandi’s first book “Honorary Indian,” which tells of her Mother’s empowering Ojibwe teachings through Sandi’s life story, was released in 2010, reaching Best Seller status in 2013. That year, Sandi’s second book, “Her Mother’s Daughter” was released to finish the story.
Named the Thunder Bay Business Person of the Year for 2016, Sandi is committed to her fight, a fight for a Canada we can all be proud of. More information on Sandi and her services can be found at www.sandiboucher.com
Serving Consciously with Elizabeth Bishop and Sandi Boucher
Group Work: How to Make it Work
Cooperative learning, collaborative strategies, group rotations—whatever we decide to call it, the research behind group work in the classroom makes a strong case for embracing collaborative learning. As beneficial as it is, however, group work can easily go awry if the planning and structures are not in place. Here are some suggestions for well-managed group work in the classroom.
Consistency is key when introducing group structures and routines.
Rotations, stations, and group collaboration involve much more than having students circulate through different activities together. Before you can even begin the actual group work, students need to be explicitly instructed on how they will form and work in their groups. Devote some time to having students practice moving into their groups in a quick and organized manner. Encourage students to have only necessary materials out during group work. Practice timed cleanup so that groups familiarize themselves with the amount of time needed to wrap up a work session.
Teacher-derived groups should be deliberate on multiple levels.
Be sure that groups contain personalities that will jive and complement one another. Also be careful to level the groups so that there are higher-ability and lower-ability group members in each group. When possible, groups should be gender-balanced and small enough that every person will play a vital role in the process and product. For the typical classroom, groups should be kept to 4 students or smaller to allow for accountability.
Begin implementing group work by stressing the importance of the process, not necessarily the product.
Of course the end result is important; however, cooperative dialogue, perspective-taking, and synergy are the foundations for a successful group—perfecting the product will come later. You want the groups to work like a well-oiled machine in the sense that each person knows that her individual input is necessary to achieve the end goal.
Have open dialogue about that end goal.
Part of the nuisance of group work is the fact that every group member has a different work ethic, mindset, motivation, and concept of the result. We have all experienced the headache and stress of completing “group work” individually because a partner or group mates were banking on someone else completing the job. To avoid this common pitfall, encourage groups to discuss what each individual’s end goal is and work on compromising from there.
If one person’s goal is to complete the task in as little time as possible, assign that person one of the initial planning, prewriting, or beginning tasks for the project. If another person expresses a deep desire to perfect the group’s project, put that person in charge of checking the final product against the rubric and making edits or adjustments as needed. If one person simply aims to turn something in for credit, put him or her in charge of organizing materials, brainstorming ideas, keeping the group’s notes, etc.—the key is to play to each person’s strengths and desires so that everyone’s intrinsic motivation leads the group to the same end goal.
If one person simply aims to turn something in for credit, put him or her in charge of organizing materials, brainstorming ideas, keeping the group’s notes, etc.—the key is to play to each person’s strengths and desires so that everyone’s intrinsic motivation leads the group to the same end goal.
5 Motivational Books That Will Help Improve Your Relationships
Sometimes, motivation is necessary for students and teachers to enhance their relationship. In many cases, teachers criticize their students without understanding the challenges they face both at home and at school. During my school years, I was bullied because I was considered soft or not being a tough guy, and I never fought back. To be honest, it was some of the worst years of my life, but I endured it. I also experienced that some of my teachers couldn’t control their attitude towards students especially with me. Maybe you have a difficult relationship in your life, but how do you get through it or try to change the outcome?
Motivation to endure is what kept me going no matter what circumstances I was facing. Now that my school days are in the past, I still need motivation when it comes to facing barriers and challenges in my daily life. Reading inspirational books have given me insight into myself and others, and they help to give me the energy and excitement to continue my journey no matter how bad my situation is. Not only do they apply to improving teacher-student situations, but the lessons learned from these books can be applied to any relationship.
Without further ado, I would like to share five motivational books that would help build a long lasting relationship:
1 – Hit Your Life’s Reset Button by Marc V. Lopez
Marc V. Lopez is a guy who prioritizes God before anything else. He preaches and attends a Roman Catholic praise and worship group known as The Feast founded by Bro. Bo Sanchez. When I participated in a bible study session, he inserted himself promoting his book. I immediately bought it from him, with his signature on it. Marc and I are friends in real life, and I consider him as one of my mentors in life.
For those who lean towards spiritual guidance, this book may appeal to you more than the others. It focuses on improving your relationship with others by putting God at the center of everything. The book costs $4.99 on Amazon.
You can find out more about Marc’s book here.
2 – The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
When it comes to personal power, Brendon Burchard is my man. Ever since my friend introduced me to Brendon Burchard, it changed the way I look at life. Sometimes it is easier to gain insight into oneself by reading their journey of someone else. I was inspired by Brendon Burchard’s story from his struggles to success. The main concept is how to look at every situation in a positive way, even if you’re at the worst point of your life.
The Motivation Manifesto is free of charge, and you only need to pay for shipping. I pay something around $7+ for shipping, and it arrived at the post office in less than a month.
You can find more about Brendon’s book here.
3 – Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Another motivational book that I want to recommend is Simon Sinek’s Starts With Why. I bought this book a couple of years ago, and it’s something that inspired me to develop my leadership skills. I firmly believe that this book would be great for anyone looking to become a better leader or manager. It shares inspiring stories from great leaders from the past on how they were able to lead their people to achieve success. If you want to become a better leader, start with this book.
The book itself cost around $10 in the bookstore. You can buy this on Amazon marketplace too. There’s paperback, hardcover, Kindle version and more.
You can find more about Simon’s book here.
4 – How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People teaches you how to navigate stressful relationships. Even if you meet difficult people, the book can teach you how to manage them very well. If you’re a teacher who has problems in handling difficult students, or a student who has an arrogant advisor, this book is for you to read. If you want to learn how to have more success in your relationships and becoming influential in your social networks, this book will help start your journey.
The book cost you $9 in average. It may be only $9 to spare, but reading the whole thing might get you thinking that it’s worth millions.
You can find more about Dale’s book here.
5 – 25 Ways To Win With People by John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell’s 25 Ways To Win With People. It teaches you how to be a better communicator and help you learn skills to change the dynamics of your relationships. This book gives principles to guide you to better love and treat others well, and it also discusses leadership and how to understand different personalities. Once you are able to see your relationships from a different lens, it will be easier to develop and improve them.
For the price of this book, it’s around $15.99 for a paperback cover.
You can find more about John’s book here.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. – Carl Jung
Passion Through Lived Experience: Krystal’s Journey to Her MSW
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Krystal Reddick who is a blogger, a social work student, and overall someone with so much passion and drive. At the age of 23, Krystal was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder during her Master’s in Education grad program.
Ten years later, through her own self-discovery and recovery towards mental wellness, Krystal has decided to pursue a career in social work. Having lived experience and the professional background gives her a unique outlook on the field, and she plans on continuing to share her story in order to help others along the way.
Prevailing research states 1 in every 4 individuals suffer from a mental illness which equates to approximately 61.5 million people in the United States. Also, current research tells us that 50 percent of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, and 75 percent of all chronic mental illness will manifest by age 24. – Social Work Helper
In the spirit of sharing her experiences, you can view our conversation below:
SWH: Being someone with lived experience and a working professional, what perspective do you bring to the field that differs from your peers who do not have lived experience with a mental illness?
Krystal:As someone with lived experience and an aspiring mental health professional, my perspective feels like a combination of an insider and an outsider. As an insider, I know what my personal experiences have been with my bipolar disorder; I’ve been manic, depressed, and stable. At the same time, once I finish graduate school and become a social worker, I’ll have to have a certain amount of distance and firm boundaries. I hope to be a social worker that can draw on my lived experience; I hope it makes me more understanding and compassionate and patient.
SWH: You stated that you sought out help at your school but it wasn’t helpful. How was that process for you? Did you feel comfortable asking for help? What about it didn’t make it helpful?
Krystal: While I was depressed in graduate school it took me weeks to get up the coverage to seek help from a college therapist. My energy levels were low, and I had practically no follow through. But I eventually made an appointment with a therapist on campus. The process wasn’t that helpful. And I understand why now, a few years removed from the experience.
The therapist recommended I seek outside care through my mother’s health insurance as the grad school’s system was swamped with students. At the time I thought he did not take me or my depression seriously. But I understand now that it was a resource issue. However, his response wasn’t helpful at the time and I never sought help again. It took all I had to come and see him. The only reason I got help was because a subsequent manic episode ended the depression, and I landed in the hospital.
At the time, I thought he did not take me or my depression seriously. But I understand now that it was a resource issue. However, his response wasn’t helpful at the time and I never sought help again. It took all I had to come and see him. The only reason I got help was because a subsequent manic episode ended the depression, and I landed in the hospital.
SWH: What made you have a career change from education to social work?
Krystal: I have been in the education field for 9 years. My own lived experience along with the experiences of a few of my family members coupled with my time as a high school English teacher, have all prompted me to switch careers from education to social work. As a teacher, I felt constrained in my attempts to work with the students. As a teacher, I had to focus on the academic side of things. But I found myself also concerned about my students as people, concerned about their social-emotional development and their development as human beings.
SWH: Can you tell us about the process you took when you had to take a leave from school? What was that like for you?
I experienced my first bout of depression while in my last year of graduate school for education. It was debilitating. I lost about 15 pounds. I didn’t sleep or eat or bathe. I barely left the house. And I avoided family and friends. However, a few months later I became manic. The mania was disruptive in ways that the depression was not. And resulted in a 3-week hospitalization during the spring semester of graduate school.
There was no way I was going to graduate on time, so I withdrew from school to focus on my health and recovery. I felt like a failure for having to “drop out.” All of my college friends were either still in law school or medical school, or were already in the workforce making good money. I felt like a bum in comparison. However, I’ve since learned that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I try not to compare myself or my journey to others. Life is a lot less stressful that way.
SWH: What would you say has been the most helpful in your recovery?
Krystal: I can’t pinpoint just one factor that has been helpful for my recovery. In fact, it has been a combination of medicine, therapy, my support system, and a solid sleep schedule that have helped me most. The medicine, if I take it regularly, keeps me stable and even-keeled. Therapy has been great because my therapist keeps me accountable to myself and the goals I’ve set for my life. Goals that have nothing to do with being diagnosed. He has tried hard to get me to live as normally as possible and not to be debilitated by a mental health label. Next, is my support system: my fiance, my family, and my friends. They all let me know if they see signs that an episode might be looming. They visit me in the hospital, they pray for me, and they love me
Next, is my support system: my fiance, my family, and my friends. They all let me know if they see signs that an episode might be looming. They visit me in the hospital, they pray for me, and they love me despite things I’ve done while manic that are not too nice. And lastly, a regular sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene are important to keep episodes at bay. I don’t sleep much during manic and depressive episodes. So trying to get as much sleep as possible, allows my brain to stay calm.
SWH: What advice would you give to other college students who find themselves struggling with their mental health?
Krystal: For other college students struggling with their mental health while in school, I’d encourage them to seek help. They do not have to go through this alone. I actually wrote an article for The Mighty about navigating mental health concerns while in college or grad school.
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