“I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
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 ….
Reflect on foundations for a fulfilling life that allows us to grow in our personal vocations
Notice the instruments and practices that will help us establish these foundations
Welcome and Stilling
Feedback from Groups
Growing in Vitality Questions and Input
The below reflections and questions are inspired by the work of Richard E. Boyatzis. (a Greek American organizational theorist and Distinguished University Professor of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. He is considered an expert in the field of emotional intelligence, behavior change, and competence.)
The questions below are best completed over a period of time with sharing and periods of silence and integration between one exercise/question and the next.
Feel free to go through them and choose the one that resonates the most with your current experience and needs. Note down your answers in your personal journal. Review the responses after some time and repeat the exercise again noting any new answers. With time, as you go build up your answers on the below reflections – you will notice emerging themes and patterns that provide insights on where you find purpose and vitality in your leadership work and personal life.
1. Which are the experiences in your life that had the greatest impact on you? How did they shape who you are?
2. Who have been the most influential people in your life?
● Which qualities do you most admire in these individuals?
● What qualities have you gained (or desire to gain) from them?
3. Thinking back over the past 5 years, what projects brought vitality and purpose to your life?
● Who were you working with?
● What was the nature of the project?
4. Spend some time identifying 4 or 5 examples:
● What activities and accomplishments would you consider of greatest worth in your life?
● Write them down and then try to identify the common threads linking the examples together.
5. What activities and tasks are you currently doing in your life that genuinely energize you?
● What are you currently doing in your work that you like?
● What commonalities do you notice?
Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now. We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do.
The question of vocation is at the core of Ignatian Spirituality – trying to love and serve in all things. That means using my talents; offering them for the love and service of others. We can live lives with either closed fists or with open hands. When we live with open hands we become free and joyful. In fact, we get more than we give. “It is in giving that we receive.”
[Prayer of St.Francis]. Try it. But first… get in touch with those deepest desires. You will find yourself there and you will also find God there.
Prayer 1; Treasure in the Field
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew: 13:44)
Where would you find your treasure?
What do you need in order to go and find your treasure?
How finding that treasure – could it change how you live and how you love?
Prayer 2: Meeting with my older self (suggestion is 10 year old self, but feel free to modify)
Methodology: Fast Forward into the Future
It is 10 years from today. You are about to visualize an encounter with your wiser future self 10 years from now.
The below prompts are suggested to help you prepare for this meeting and guide the visualization. Take some time to read them before the exercise.
When you are ready, pull up a chair, take a relaxed posture, close your eyes, and enjoy the encounter.
Prompts to guide the visualization:
Use your imagination to visualize the details of this encounter, imagining your own maturity and growth into your best self. In the visualization, take the time to visualize the scenery in detail by engaging all your senses.
Where do you imagine this encounter taking place? What is the setting around you?
Imagine you are seeing yourself in the distance, coming closer.
What do you look like in 10 years from now? Imagine your face, eyes, smile, hands and other features.
How would you describe your posture, your walk, your pace, your overall presence? What impression do you leave?
As your future self is getting closer, what questions do you want to ask? This is a chance for a conversation about things that are important to you. Some of the questions you could ask your future self:
How do you look at the world and life now in a way that is different from the way that you saw these things in the past?
What matters most to you?
How do you deal with change?
What is your attitude towards the unknown or uncertainty?
What is making you live with integrity? What deep and core values are you honoring?
What do you care about?
What kind of work are you enjoying? What are your major responsibilities? What difference are you making? How are you spending your time?
If there is any type of advice your future self could offer you in terms of leadership. What is it?
Are there any other questions you would like to ask?
Once this 15 minute meditation conversation has come to an end, express your gratitude and trust that you can return to your highest future self at any time you wish.
Take notes in your journal of the insights and wisdom that have emerged from your conversation.
As a general impression, what can you say about the person you just met?
What can you note down about this person?
What insight or advice do you keep from your encounter?
Are there still some remaining questions that you would like to ask your older self?
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10: 9-10)
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Cor 12: 4-6)
“While he was seated there, the eyes of his understanding began to be opened; though he did not see any vision, he understood and knew many things, both spiritual things and matters of faith and learning, and this was with so great an enlightenment that everything seemed new to him. It was as if he were a new man.”
“Such was the abundance of this light in his mind that all the divine helps received, and all the knowledge acquired up to his sixty-second year, were not equal to it.”
Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola (30)
Complete any unfinished parts of what we did in the session.
Read through sections A, B and C above and complete any of the exercises and /or suggested prayer material to enter into a dialogue with one of the persons of the Trinity.
LINK: S23 The Heart and Soul of Leadership (Handout)