“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein


To introduce and give a flavour of an Ignatian approach to leadership. To be aware that the skills of self -reflection and awareness that we have been developing throughout the course can be applied in real-life situations at home, at work and in our faith communities.


Participants will . . . .

Notice how growth comes often through stretching events.

Reflect on the concept of a “holding environment “, where people can feel safe and supported while they learn and grow.

Notice that we can learn from the stretching experiences of both success and failure and from the experience of the healthy integration of these experiences.











Link to the music: We are called – Haas

Take a few minutes to connect with a real stretching event – a situation that got you out of your comfort zone.

Think for example of a recent personal or professional difficulty, a conflict, an interaction with a difficult team member or authority, your first assignment in a new position, a time when you made a mistake…

  • What personal competencies and strengths helped you manage this situation?

  • What learnings did this event provide?

  • What stands out for you now as you think back to that event?

  • As you look at the learning from this event, is there an area in which you would like to grow?

Stretching Events
Space to stretch
Space to stretch

Growing in our ways of knowing and meaning – may not always be comfortable or easy and can sometimes be painful as it involves losses.

Consequently, facilitating the learning experience involves intentionally creating an environment where people feel safe and supported but also challenged and stretched. More than that, because we are Ignatian in our approach, the hope is to support the whole person in meeting and managing the spiritual, mental, emotional, and practical challenges that come with leadership.

Why a “holding environment?”

Learning new ways of being is not comfortable or easy and can sometimes be painful. It often happens when people feel safe but also challenged; accepted for who they are yet also encouraged to grow; supported yet also critiqued. As individuals gradually let go of what they held tightly to (their old selves) and try to rebalance who they are growing to become, they need plenty of support.

  • When have you felt you were held and supported?

  • How have you/can you provide this for others?

  • Why can this sometimes be difficult to achieve?


A monk in his travels once found a precious stone and kept it. One day he met a traveller, and when he opened his bag to share his provisions with him, the traveller saw the pearl and asked the monk to give it to him. The monk did so readily. The traveller departed overjoyed with the unexpected gift of the precious stone that was enough to give him wealth and security for the rest of his life. However, a few days later he came back in search of the monk, found him, gave him back the stone and entreated him: ‘Now give me something much more precious than this stone, valuable as it is. Give me that which enabled you to give it to me.’ –

Excerpt from Unencumbered by Baggage: Father Anthony de Mello: A Prophet for Our Times (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1987

Another time, when he was travelling from Valencia to Italy by sea and in very stormy weather, the rudder broke on the ship, and the matter got to the point where, in his judgement and in that of many who were travelling in the ship, they couldn’t escape death barring a miracle. On thoroughly examining himself at this time, and preparing himself to die, he couldn’t be afraid of his sins, nor of being damned, but he felt great confusion and sadness from judging that he had not used well the gifts and graces which God Our Lord had imparted to him.

Romans 12.6-8 (Passion Translation)

God’s marvellous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts and ministries that are uniquely ours. So if God has given you the grace-gift of prophecy, you must activate your gift by using the proportion of faith you have to prophesy. If your grace-gift is serving, then thrive in serving others well. If you have the grace-gift of teaching, then be actively teaching and training others. If you have the grace-gift of encouragement, then use it often to encourage others. If you have the grace-gift of giving to meet the needs of others, then may you prosper in your generosity without any fanfare. If you have the gift of leadership, be passionate about your leadership. And if you have the gift of showing compassion, then flourish in your cheerful display of compassion.

Trust in the slow work of God

Trust in the Slow Work of God – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881 – 1955)

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability –

and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you, and accept the

anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.


1. Come! live in the light!

Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!

We are called to be light for the kingdom,

to live in the freedom of the city of God!

Refrain: We are called to act with justice.

We are called to love tenderly.

We are called to serve one another,

to walk humbly with God.

2. Come! Open your heart!

Show your mercy to all those in fear!

We are called to be hope for the hopeless,

so all hatred and blindness will be no more!

Refrain: We are called to act with justice.

We are called to love tenderly.

We are called to serve one another,

to walk humbly with God.

3. Sing! Sing a new song!

Sing of that great day when all will be one!

God will reign and we’ll walk with each other

as sisters and brothers united in love!

Refrain: We are called to act with justice.

We are called to love tenderly.

We are called to serve one another,

to walk humbly with God.

Source: LyricFind

We Are Called lyrics © O/B/O Capasso

    1. Complete any unfinished parts of what we did in the session.

    2. In her TED talk :Success, failure and the drive to keep creating Elizabeth Gilbert shares a personal experience of success and failure. She suggests that both success and failure had thrown her in a way out of herself (one into the blinding glare of fame and praise, and the other in the blinding darkness of disappointment). The way she found for self-restoration was to “find her way back home again”, to something that she loved more than her own ego.

    • What are two personal experiences of success and failure?

    • What was the immediate impact of each experience on yourself?

    • How did each of them challenge you?

    • How did you manage the outcome? How did you find your “way back home”?

    • Looking back, what learning and graces did these events carry? How can you be more present to these graces in the future, without being shaken by “the random hurricanes of outcome”?

    LINK: S21 Workshop on Global Leadership Profile and Adult Development

    LINK: Developing Talent? You’re Probably Missing Vertical Development

    LINK: Called to Leadership

    Further Recommended reading on Leadership

    Brene Brown: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead or The Power of Vulnerability