I recently came across a video on Ted.com by Simon Sinek centered on something called the Golden Circle. Essentially, it’s an individual or group’s Why, How, and What. Why do you do something? How do you do it? What comes out of it? Sinek says that successful leaders within an industry are clear about not only what products they come out with, but why and how these products come to be. People care about why and how your products came to be reality and whether or not there is meaning behind each unit you produce.
This whole idea caught my attention and really got me thinking about my own Golden Circle and how I apply it to my own life and student affairs. It made me think about my leadership style and how intentional I want to be with it. Personally, I like to consider myself a transformational leader and inspirational seeds of transformation are what I live to plant in the minds of others.
After having a pretty successful 2014, two questions came to mind:
- How can I be more conscious and intentional in my interactions with others?
- How can I continue to aid in the success of my students?
In order to answer these questions, I went on what you can call a small spiritual journey. I spent a lot of time alone just reflecting on my past, meditating on the present, and focusing on my future. Some activities within my journey included reading The Alchemist and The Book of Awakening, starting up some yoga and meditation, creating a vision board, and listening to the wind while driving down the highway. I realized that I had allowed my past to affect my present more than it should. I had allowed those that had hurt me to claim a piece of me that was not theirs and that piece alone affected my personal being. My reflection allowed me to see that although I was what people call successful, I was not at my optimum level of success and leadership. It was during this moment of clarity that I decided that I would no longer allow my past to take from me. Now this is not to say that as a person you should never think about your past. On the contrary, we all should to an extent. We should not allow our past to take from us because if we do, we are not allowing ourselves to grow.
Getting Past The Past
So how does this all apply to being more conscious and intentional with others? It’s simple: if you are allowing your past to engulf your present, you are focusing your attention on just that: your past. You are not allowing yourself to enjoy the present; you are not allowing yourself to interact with others to your fullest potential. For example, if you are going through a breakup and you keep bringing up that person every chance you get, you’re not allowing your
conversations to truly grow and reach their potential. This year, I chose to focus more on the relationships with people I have now and to be more aware of what I have right in front of me.
I decided that this year would be all about transformation. I even made it official by letting that word, transformation, become my theme for 2015. But how does one encompass that theme? In short: you let yourself live and you allow yourself to grow while giving to yourself and to others. After much thought, I wanted to make sure I was able to bring all of this into my life in student affairs. In order to keep myself centered and help my students, I decided to to create my own Golden Circle revolving around my theme of transformation.
My Golden Circle
Why: I will be more intentional in the transformation of my students because I believe deep down in my heart that I can aid in their development, success, and transformative journey within higher education.
How: I will do this by guiding my students through their transformative journey through mentorship, programming, advising, and training.
What: There are two products that will come out from this. First, I will become more of a transformational leader. Second, my students will come out of this more confident and prepared to focus on what they have to bring to the table and how that can help them navigate their own college careers.
This year, I am focusing more on my passion for student affairs. I am becoming more aware of my everyday actions and how they affects my students. I realized last year, that I have a lot of students that look up to me as their mentor and as someone they aspire to be. This is an amazing feeling and even more of a reason for me to continue planting my transformational seeds into the minds of my students. It’s my duty to continue to inspire these students and to plant those transformational seeds in them, so that they too could become someone else’s mentor and someone that others look up to.
Writing my own Golden Circle definitely helped me to become more aware of my theme for the year and I would highly encourage others to write their own. Remember that students wonder why you are interested in helping them. For example, it is not just about an advising session for some students. They are wondering why you care to advise them, and why you are there for them. So the next time you help a student, think about your own Golden Circle.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Stacy Oliver-Sikorski on Professional Development