Tag Archives: inspiration

You Are Strong! What Your Hands, Head and Heart Already Know

soy fuerte workshop-1 How do you help someone else recognize their own strengths? Their own potential? To believe in themselves and their future when the odds are against them?

This was the challenge when our team of Global Volunteers was asked to design and deliver a motivational workshop for the teenage boys aging out of their orphanage in Lima, Peru. They had lived there for years and now they would be on their own in just a few short months.

Would they recognize their unique strengths and be able to use those assets to achieve the future they wanted for themselves? How could we help set them up for success, and do it in a second language, with limited training supplies and in just 45 minutes?

It was actually the boys talking about their passion for soccer that sparked the idea of using a simple picture of a hand, a head and a heart to capture their individual strengths. Our goal was to have each young man recognize and appreciate his own foundation of unique strength.

soy fuerte workshop-2Here’s how we did it in five simple steps – so simple but so powerful – and you can do the same with any young person in any life circumstance.

  1. Start with a large piece of white paper for each teen and several colored pencils. In the left bottom corner, ask them to outline their hand with outstretched fingers. On each finger, ask them to write a skill or strength that they have with their hands. (For example: soccer, art/drawing, cooking, electrical repair, wood working, etc.)
  2. Next, ask them to draw a picture of their face or head in the upper middle page. Ask them to write down their “head” strengths, usually from their schooling (math, writing, music, etc.)
  3. Finally, ask them to draw a picture of their heart in the lower right corner of the page. Here they write their “heart” strengths like courage, persistence, faith, etc.
  4. Connect the three pictures (hand, head & heart) with a triangle and ask them to write “Soy Fuerte” or “I Am Strong” in the center.
  5. From here, you can flip the paper over and help them identify their future or dream jobs and finally, what resources they will need to use to achieve those goals.

Did it work? Yes! Very Well.

It was amazing to see how quickly the teenage boys grasped these concepts of interpersonal strengths and were able to apply them directly to their future. We were amazed and so inspired by their courage and spirit. Thank you boys for allowing us to be part of your journey!

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Film Review: McFarland USA

McFarland USA, with Kevin Costner by Disney, 2015.

Okay, I admit that I’m a big Kevin Costner fan, especially in sports movies that are based on true stories. This movie, McFarland USA, is just that kind of inspiring story.

It’s about a coach, Jim White (Costner), down on his luck who moves to a farming community, McFarland, in the central valley of California. White begins to recognize the raw talent of the high school boys who are not only physically strong but show incredible perseverance and courage as they work in the fields every day to help provide for their families. White believes in their potential (and convinces them to believe in themselves) and along with the support of this hard-working, farming community, he builds a champion cross-country running team, winning the California State Championship 9 out of 14 years.

It’s an amazing story about seeing and believing in others’ strengths as well as our own!

Here’s a link to one of the movie’s trailers, via IMDb (Internet Movie Database:  http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1125297945/


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Global Volunteers – Just One of Many Volunteer Opportunities!

Kit and Peru team

Kit and other Global Volunteers, Peru, 2015.

There are many great international humanitarian organizations. My favorite has been the Global Volunteers organization – www.GlobalVolunteers.org– which has been serving underdeveloped communities around the world since 1984. They are now serving in 19 countries with varied projects including teaching English and doing light construction. More than 30 thousand volunteers have participated in one-, two- or three-week assignments, working in rotating teams under the guidance of experienced country hosts.

What makes this organization different is their professionalism and organization, which makes the volunteer experience as smooth as possible. But more importantly is their ongoing commitment to providing sustainable services (through rotating teams) that are specifically requested by the community. In addition, community representatives are always working alongside the volunteers, making these desired changes their own.

Global Volunteers is a long-standing NGO leader in special consultative status with the United Nation and in partnership with UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

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Inventory Your Successes from Last Year

This is a great reminder for all of us. It’s so easy to slip into thinking about everything that we didn’t do, couldn’t do, postponed doing etc. We often do that at night before going to bed. Instead of focusing on what we did accomplish during that day, we are busy thinking of all that we didn’t do. The result? We just feel more overwhelmed and exhausted.

So try this instead . . . do an “inventory” of your successes from last year. Start with flipping back through your paper or electronic calendar and start noting down all that you accomplished in both your professional and personal life. Now go to anyplace else that you write these things down. Ask colleagues, your spouse, your friends as well. Often their memories are much better than ours.

Make a HUGE list for 2014. If you are on a roll, go back another year and another year. You will be amazed that you actually have been very successful! Now give yourself a warm pat on your back, curl up next to your fluffy pillow and go right to sleep knowing that you have been very successful in the things that matter most to you at this time.

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,Greg McKeown, Crown Publishing Group, Random House LLC, New York, New York, 2014.

I admit that I haven’t read this new book cover to cover over the holidays. And it’s simply because I started flipping through the chapters and immediately got fascinated with several of McKeown’s powerful insights. My favorite two chapters so far are developing our ability to “choose choice” and the “genius of routine” to make it effortless to focus on what is essential.

One of my favorite clients had recommended this book and he was absolutely right – it is one to read slowly, think carefully about and then decide which of the ideas can help you achieve your goals for the coming year. And let me know how it is working for you. Enjoy!

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