Leading Ourselves So We Can Lead Others: 7pm Wednesday 20 Feb

Leadership is an Action
To lead is to take an action. It is a verb. Something you do.
Leading is easier for some; harder for others. For some, the fear that we will do it wrong will discourage us, and cause us to shrink from the challenge. But even if you do, you must remember that leadership is still happening. Leadership can be something you do without even knowing that you’re doing it, and whether you’re consciously leading or not, there’s someone following you. They may be your kids, your siblings, your cousins, your friends, your colleagues and co-workers, and of course your fellow students in karate-do. They may look to you for guidance, to be an example, for reassurance, or for any number of other things…but like it or not, they need you to lead them the right way, in the right direction.  Whoever they are — whoever you are — they need you to lead them with purpose.
Leading by example
Last month in the Warriors of Grace Leadership Institute, we talked a lot about what leadership really is, and what it is not. As a team, we talked about what makes leadership different from power or authority, and the importance of being confident and deliberate in who and how we lead. Easier said than done!
Understanding Ourselves as Leaders
This month, our focus will be a little different. Rather than focusing on the verb  we’re going to focus on the noun, the person doing the leading. You! Understanding ourselves, our identities, our goals, and our missions (big or small) is essential to the task of conscious, deliberate leadership….and to understanding how we may be influencing those who we lead less consciously. To truly lead with purpose, you must be able to understand your genuine self. Only then will you be able to bring your unique strengths and experiences to the forefront when they’re needed. In short, you need to know yourself and lead yourself before you can lead others on purpose.
With all that in mind, I’d like to challenge our new and returning Leadership Institute students to do a little homework before our next meeting. Please bring a short paragraph about who you are. Try a few sentences, or even a bulleted list. Though it may be tempting to do so, don’t try to imagine how others might see you, or try to write about the person you wish you were. Tell us about how you see yourself — who you are today. I’ll be sure to do the same.
See you soon!

Love is patient, love is kind

We’re all at least somewhat familiar with the popular poem from the bible that is often read at weddings.

It’s interesting that the very first descriptive word of love is patience. Hmmmm, must be that it’s a pretty important aspect to love.

What do we need patience for?

I know no one actually has to ask that! 

We all come as a mixed bag of good stuff and not so good stuff. You have to take the not so good stuff along with the good stuff, or else you’ll be very lonely.

Yes, it’s true people can change. But the ONLY person YOU can change is YOU. So you need to get used to that not-so-good stuff in your friend. And maybe have a little compassion for what they have to put up with in you – to help motivate you to work on something you know irritates your friend.

Is patience a muscle?

In January we showed the kids a Class Dojo video which teaches a growth mindset. It’s really important to understand that we all can grow and changed and that who we are is not FIXED. 

In the video they had the brain doing exercises to get stronger in math.

But we can think of everything we want to improve as a “muscle” that can be exercised.

How to exercise patience?

The next time you’re late and stuck in traffic, think “this is a perfect opportunity to exercise my patience muscle.”  Ok, that may be like jumping straight to world champion muscle building.

How about the next time you’re waiting in the grocery line behind someone who’s having trouble searching for all the loose coins in her large tote bag?

Or when your child is all excited about something that he is desperately trying to tell you about, but having a hard time spitting the words out. Breathe, give him time to collect his thoughts (and exercise his own patience muscle) without jumping in and forming the words for him.

Every problem is an opportunity

That’s one of the mottoes that Sam Lariosa, our mentor in Michigan, lives by. Every problem is an opportunity.

In this case, every time you naturally would go to losing patience, is an opportunity to build your patience “muscle”. Take advantage of it, develop it, and it will impact everyone around you.

Kids learn from their primary teacher – YOU. And they learn more from what you DO and how you ACT, than what you say.

So as you’re strengthening your patience muscle, they’ll be watching and learning as well.

One more note

If you want to help your child develop patience, give them opportunities to exercise their patience muscles.

Intentionally providing opportunities to wait for things is an act of love to a child.  We need to learn patience and self-control at an early age. Start small, and they’ll learn.

For a short article on teaching kids patience, click here.

Take advantage of Warrior Week! It’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss

What’s so special about Warrior Week?

Hopefully people enjoy coming out and gathering with greater numbers than they normally do, whether it’s to watch a grading, attend a shiai (tournament), or enjoying all the delicious food there always is at our potlucks!

But Warrior Week can be a unique opportunity to learn some life lessons.

Be prepared

Being invited to grade offers a lesson in planning and preparing: bringing in the required paperwork, completing required written tests and character sheets. As your children get older you can begin to shift the responsibility over to them.

(We apologize for the delay in some grading invitations going out this time.  Thank you weather! We’ll allow extra time to get your paperwork in.)

Shiai (for us, it means friendly tournament!)

The shiai are an important opportunity you don’t want to miss. Watch your son or daughter carefully to see if they are behaving up to your expectations and if any emotions are coming up during the tournament. How do they handle winning? How do they handle losing? Did something seem unfair to them? The drive home will be a wonderful opportunity to address all of these things. Many critical life lessons or skills have only rare opportunities to develop or address. The shiai during Warrior Week might be one such time.

If you are an adult karate-ka — this is an opportunity for YOU, too! Notice what comes up, what feelings arise. Maybe you’ve never been to a shiai and you’re nervous about going. Why? What’s that about? Push yourself! Broaden your experience! Maybe the opposite is true. You can’t wait to go and kick butt! Really? Examine that!

Let’s eat together!

We want to encourage everyone to come to the potluck on Saturday. It’s always a great time to socialize, have the kids “on stage” (developing courage!), as well as learn new things about karate, our specific style, or some other topic we feel is important to share with you.

All students are asked to wear their gi to the potluck (pants and a t-shirt during lunch, adding the gi top and belt after eating), as we will have the classes do demonstrations after we eat.

Looking forward to a great week next week!