CAMPUSPEAK http://www.campuspeak.com Fri, 15 Jun 2018 13:41:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.11 99955535 Suicide, Celebrities, and “Having it All” http://www.campuspeak.com/suicide-celebrities-and-having-it-all/ Fri, 08 Jun 2018 17:14:18 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27474 By: Josh Rivedal With the recent and tragic high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I’ve heard so much chatter around the topic of suicide. So many are asking “why,” “how could this happen,” “they had it all,” or “who’s next.” Unfortunately, we’ll never know the exact “why,” but what these two brilliant human-beings were […]

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By: Josh Rivedal

With the recent and tragic high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I’ve heard so much chatter around the topic of suicide. So many are asking “why,” “how could this happen,” “they had it all,” or “who’s next.” Unfortunately, we’ll never know the exact “why,” but what these two brilliant human-beings were going through was probably a layer of several crises or obstacles that contributed to feelings of hopelessness that caused them to feel as if life would never get better. And because mental health and suicide are still seen as taboo topics, getting help for their lingering feelings of hopelessness was probably not seen as an option.

The idea that “they had it all,” isn’t really an insulator against suicidal thinking or attempts. If you’re familiar with the idea of the iconic “white picket fence,” that someone has everything: a great family, house, and job; a symbol of outward perfection—what we don’t see is the other side of that fence. The side that only the owners of the white picket fence can see. The side we can’t see could be termite infested, chipped, broken, and well-worn without paint.

More than half-a-decade ago, a good amount of people saw my “white picket fence,” and thought that after many years of struggle that I had a lot going for me. I painted the outside of my fence really well, but the inside of that fence was broken and in need of repair—and so was I. It was the darkest place that a person could be in—without hope, without a feeling of purpose, and believing the world would be a better place without me.

How could a person get to such a place? And how can a person get out of such utter despair?

* * *

Captain’s log, Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m twenty-six years old and thinking about dying… actually I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop… and I don’t know how to do that. Two guys in my life—my father and grandfather—each didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop and now both were, well, dead.

My grandfather, Haakon—a Norwegian guy who served in the Royal Air Force (35th Squadron as a tail gunner) in World War II—died from suicide in 1966 because of the overwhelming post-traumatic stress he suffered because of the war.

My father, Douglas—an American guy who was chronically unhappy and an abusive man—died from suicide in 2009, the catalyst being a divorce with my mother along with some long-term depression and other mental health issues.

How did I get to such a dismal place in my life so quickly, just a month shy of my twenty-seventh birthday? Coming out of secondary school and high on optimism, I thought by the time I reached my mid-twenties I’d have it all together. After a couple of years singing on Broadway, I would have scored a few bit parts on Law & Order, and transitioned seamlessly to being cast with Will Smith in the summer’s biggest blockbuster. After which, my getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and my face would grace the cover of National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Not to mention, I’d have my perfect family by my side to share in my success.

But instead, “perfect” was unattainable (it always is). I only managed to perform in some of small professional theatre gigs and on one embarrassing reality television show; and over the course of the previous eighteen months my father died from suicide, my mother betrayed me and sued me for my father’s inheritance, and my girlfriend of six years broke up with me.

This storm of calamity and crisis had ravaged my life… and I wasn’t talking about it to anyone. My silence led to crisis and poor decisions—to the extent that I was hanging out of a fourth story window.

Both Haakon and Douglas suffered their pain in silence because of the stigma surrounding talking about mental illness and getting help. I too felt that same stigma—like I’d be seen as “crazy” or “less of a man” if I talked about what I was going through. But I didn’t want to die and so I had to take a chance.

I started talking. I pulled myself back inside and first called my mom. She helped me through that initial crisis and we became friends again. She never called me “crazy.” I then started reaching out to the positive friends I had in my life. They hugged me and helped me with open arms. They never told me I was “less than a man.” Soon I got more help by seeing a professional counselor, and by writing down what I was going through in a journal.

But this idea of keeping silent continued to bother me. I did some research while in my recovery and found out that each year, suicide kills over one million people worldwide… and that many of those one million never speak up about their emotional pain because of stigma.

I had to figure out a way to reach people like that. So, like any other actor, writer, or comedian living in New York City whose life dealt them a crappy hand, I created a one-man show… and it toured theatres and universities in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia—and people were getting help.

But I had to keep talking because this isn’t just a Rivedal problem or United States problem… it’s a world problem.

I had to get other people to tell their stories, and I did—publishing blogs and books about real and hopeful stories of overcoming abuse, despair, suicide and more. Why? Because storytelling is one of our oldest traditions. Stories can make us laugh or cry… or both at the same time. They can teach, inspire and even ignite an entire movement. And storytelling can save lives—that could include the life storyteller or it could be the life of the person listening.

It’s been seven years since my crisis and life is definitely looking up. I love my work, I have an amazing family; but most important I’m able to give and receive help and love, and with hard work I’m able to stay mentally well—all because I took a risk and told my story.

No matter what society says, it’s COOL (as in “okay”) to talk about your feelings. Don’t ever forget that you are important, and your story needs to be heard so we, the human race, can learn how to live and love better. The world is a beautiful and complex tapestry and we need every single thread, your thread. We need YOU.

* * *

What can you do if someone you know is thinking of suicide? You can ask them: “Are you thinking of suicide.” The question is simply a gauge or meter to see how strongly they’re thinking of suicide or if they’re thinking of it at all. Listen to them. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Listening shows empathy and that’s a huge gift to someone in crisis. Don’t try to fix them or give answers or solutions. This generally doesn’t work even if someone isn’t in crisis and someone in crisis might see your “solutions” as uncaring, not listening, or absurd. Instead, as they speak, listen for clues that might make them feel grounded, important, and that they matter. Tell them that their life is important to you. Make sure they’re safe and not in any imminent danger. Be persistent. And refer to professional help—a counselor or therapist, a trusted advisor or mentor, a parent or guardian, a professor, or a crisis hotline.

In the US, you call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

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Impact of a Workshop http://www.campuspeak.com/impact-of-a-workshop/ Fri, 08 Jun 2018 16:59:23 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27472 By: Austin Arias On college campuses, now more than ever, it is important to empower students to see themselves as agents of change for not only their campus but society. For our students who choose to seek out leadership development experiences or involvement on campus, their already vested interest keeps them motivated. Determining the best way […]

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By: Austin Arias

On college campuses, now more than ever, it is important to empower students to see themselves as agents of change for not only their campus but society. For our students who choose to seek out leadership development experiences or involvement on campus, their already vested interest keeps them motivated. Determining the best way to deliver this development can be tricky but CAMPUSPEAK’s Interactive Workshops provide you the opportunity to meet students where they are and provide them the opportunity to grow as people and leaders in a space catered to them. There are so many awesome benefits to bringing an Interactive Workshop to your campus.

A topic that meets your campus’ needs and the competency level of your students

CAMPUSPEAK is proud to offer a variety of workshops that can complement your leadership development programming, spark conversation around a hot topic and provide an opportunity for growth. Whether you are looking to inspire emerging leaders, have difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion, inspire fraternities and sororities to work together for change or push established leaders to think bigger, there is an IW for you. Can’t find something that works for you? Our TEAM can work to build a custom program for you and carefully select facilitators to bring it to life.

Expert facilitators providing curriculum rooted in learning objectives and CAS outcomes

We understand there are a lot of facilitators and programs around. What makes our programs different is the facilitators we carefully select, who are experts in their field. Our facilitators come from all walks of life and career paths. They are considered experts in their fields and carefully trained by us to not only deliver the curriculum but how to navigate any audience as engaging leaders. All of our curriculums are rooted in learning objectives and correlated with CAS learning and development outcomes. If your office or institution is working to achieve certain goals or standards, our curriculums can easily fit into your plans and help you reach those milestones. These curriculums are consistently being assessed to ensure they are evolving with our students.

Meet a variety of learning styles in an intimate and welcoming environment

Our Interactive Workshops are designed to be more than just a PowerPoint on a screen students may see every day in their lecture halls. The workshops incorporate a variety of visual aids, one-on-one and group discussions and personal reflection to ensure they are meeting the preferred learning style of the student. Since our workshops cater to smaller pockets of students, we are able to create an environment where students feel their input is welcome and the ultimate goal of becoming better leaders is supported by all, including their peers. Some of these conversations are awkward or different. We work with you the campus partner to understand your campus culture before the workshop so we can provide the best experience possible for these conversations.

An investment that extends beyond the day of the workshop

All of our workshops prepare students to flourish post-program. Throughout the program, students are provided workbooks that allow them to reflect along the way, create action plans and build strategic goals for moving forward. This helps your investment go beyond just the 4-hour time we are on your campus. Previous attendees of our workshops have used these plans to then work with their advisors, chapter leaders and peers to achieve change on their campuses through their organizations and/or individually become better people, officers and community members. PLUS, we are able to provide you a post-program assessment report of your attendees, what they feel they gained and what areas they may still need support on. This allows you the opportunity to better plan programs later.

Learn more about CAMPUSPEAK Interactive Workshops at http://campuspeak.com/workshops/

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How Women Will End Hazing http://www.campuspeak.com/women-will-end-hazing/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 16:07:07 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27359 [This article is based on content contributed by the author for publication in the upcoming book – Fall 2018 – by Hank Nuwer titled Destroying Young Lives: Hazing in Schools and the Military.] “The world will be saved by the western woman.” When the Dalai Lama, who called himself a feminist, made this statement at […]

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Tracy Maxwell

[This article is based on content contributed by the author for publication in the upcoming book – Fall 2018 – by Hank Nuwer titled Destroying Young Lives: Hazing in Schools and the Military.]

“The world will be saved by the western woman.” When the Dalai Lama, who called himself a feminist, made this statement at the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009, he may not have known what a sensation it would make. But a great deal of research of late has also proven the truth of his statement and reinforced what many campus professionals have believed for years. Namely, that women and feminine leadership styles are capable of fostering tremendous progress on some of our most intractable problems. As a speaker, prevention advocate, non-profit founder and frequent media expert over the past decade on the topic of hazing, I couldn’t agree more.

In my 25 years working in and around higher education, I have often repeated to students what I was taught – that sorority women at the local level could change the face of a fraternity/sorority community by standing up for their values, refusing to participate in events or activities that were mean-spirited, dangerous or demeaning to women, and by exercising their leadership. Time and again, this has been proven by undergraduate women on campuses across North America. When women exercise their unique leadership approach utilizing long-term and global perspectives, nurturing, empathy, conversational turn-taking, credit distribution, inquiry and networked thinking, according to Janet Crawford who created a workshop for companies called The Surprising Neuroscience of Gender Inequity (Hwang, 2014), lasting change is possible, even probable.

An MIT study proved that “women are capable of initiating innovative processes in situations of difficulty and stress.” Further, at the individual level “women are more flexible and better equipped to manage change, are better multi-taskers, are solidarity and community minded, more networked than hierarchical, and an important source of creative and imaginative ways of adapting to changing circumstances . . . ways that don’t always follow rules accepted at the social level (Leonardo, 1994).”

The Anti-Hazing Movement

Formal opposition to hazing has been around for approximately 100 years – when the first statements and policies were put into place by various organizations – however, the practice spread and dozens of people have been killed (almost all men) by hazing despite rules, regulations and more recent legislation. Early leaders in the anti-hazing movement were all men, and research on the problem has focused largely on males as the main perpetrators. Initial approaches involved documenting (through books and video) the consequences of hazing (frequently focusing on the more egregious behaviors), and utilizing masculine-style scare tactics, essentially highlighting legal ramifications and taking a risk management approach.

Many in the more recent movement toward prevention (rather than focusing solely on passing laws, instituting policies and enforcement, which are response-oriented and represent the more masculine style of the past) are women, including researchers, speakers, and curriculum creators. There are also some prominent men at the forefront of the modern movement who have employed a mostly transformational approach including promoting strongly collaborative prevention practices, focus on moral development, emphasis on human dignity, and organizational culture change as effective strategies.

What Women Can Do

Primarily, women can do what they are naturally inclined to do anyway: allow their values to be their guide without conforming to social pressure to look the other way or go along with outdated and harmful traditions. Female students need encouragement and inspiration to do what is already instinctual for them. They require little more than an initial suggestion and ongoing support in moving from bystanders to active change agents in a campus setting.

What gets in the way of success on this issue is often denial of the problem. Campuses and organizations will frequently overlook hazing because of its extreme secrecy, or lack a formal complaint because they aren’t sure what to do about it outside of disciplinary procedure when it is often too late, and people have already been harmed. Prevention is a lengthy process with a number of steps involved, and without the institutional will to tackle it (which often comes only after a very messy, very public problem being splashed across the media), professionals often feel stuck.

Stacy and Jackie were both called to address hazing in their communities. In Jackie’s case, she didn’t hold a formal leadership position at the time that she began important conversations about hazing in her community. Stacy, on the other hand, did have a prominent role when she took steps toward changing a culture. Though the settings and their prominence in their respective communities were vastly different, the two women took a similar approach, invoking values and creativity to challenge the status quo.

Jackie was an undergraduate sorority woman who refused to participate in hazing of the new members of the fraternity system on her campus. Her initial stance was prompted by her advisor, who encouraged her to take a stand as a senior member of the fraternity/sorority community. She didn’t stop with not participating herself but encouraged other sorority women not to as well. Some initial push-back from the community prompted her to begin blogging about her viewpoint, and she invited questions and discussion from other community members to open up a dialogue that truly made an impact.

Stacy, an alumna sorority member, utilized her education and training as a Greek to make some changes to traditions at a summer camp that she directed. She was supported by her camp administrator to make hazing a black and white issue with no remaining gray areas. She began by asking current staff members to make a list of camp traditions. Then she requested they identify how each tradition supported one of the four overarching program goals. Anything that didn’t foster one of those goals was eliminated from camp. Initially, there was pushback from staff about beloved traditions that were being let go, but sticking to the program values was the key to eventual success. An unexpected positive impact of this process was the impact on new staff members. They appreciated the opportunity to create new traditions and felt as though they were adding value to the camp.

The key to success in allowing the feminine leadership style to prosper is providing challenge and support to female leaders to do what they are naturally suited for already.

References

Hwang, W. Victor, Are Feminine Leadership Traits The Future Of Business? Forbes, August 30, 2014.

Leonardo, Elenora Barbieri Masini, The Creative Role of Women in a Changing World, MIT Press, vol 27, No. 1, 1994, pp. 51-56.

Tracy’s programs share stories as examples and provide tools for creating conversations that lead to positive change. She is introducing a new program just for women this fall to encourage, inspire and empower them to engage their unique skills and talents for leading on the issue of hazing.

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Listening for Leaders (From “What Leaders Do”) http://www.campuspeak.com/listening-leaders-leaders/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:33:11 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27349 By: Joe Richardson, Esq. There is constant discussion about leadership in the college space.   Being involved in studies related to interests, sports, student government and Greek life should be a springboard for the accelerated development of leadership skills. While leaders have many noteworthy characteristics, the most important of them may be the ability to listen. […]

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By: Joe Richardson, Esq.

There is constant discussion about leadership in the college space.   Being involved in studies related to interests, sports, student government and Greek life should be a springboard for the accelerated development of leadership skills. While leaders have many noteworthy characteristics, the most important of them may be the ability to listen. Leaders should be effective communicators. While the definition of communicate is “to give information about something to someone by speaking,” key to the word “communicate” is the prefix “com” or “co.”   It is a living prefix dating back centuries, and means “together, mutually, or in common.”

Consistent with the foregoing, it is impossible to be an effective leader if you can talk but you cannot listen.   To hear what’s going on, and understand what the needs of a group actually are, leaders have to do more listening than talking.  That listening has to start with self-awareness; said another way, you cannot disregard your own feelings and points of view.  You must know that your thoughts belong “in the mix” of the groups that you want to involve yourself in. Next, remember that others’ thoughts belong “in the mix” too.  If leaders initiate with a clear understanding of the needs of the people, groups, and interests they represent, this gives them a greater chance to be effective. In this way, all participants in a group or endeavor are potential leaders.

Embracing Differences

Leaders get a great deal of practice listening when they find themselves in environments with different people (like college)!  For any leader, a focus on recognizing differences is imperative. There will be all types of differences between those in any college crowd, be they visual, political, racial, or otherwise.  A leader will find commonalities even in situations where they are not so obvious.

While the goal (ideally) is to embrace things and people different than us while in college, the definition of “diverse” is differing from one another.  Differences often give us caution and fear for good reason—simply, they are ingrained.  We have a natural instinct to want to categorize things (and particularly people). Often, categorization relates to our safety: for the same reason we would not go into a lion’s den, we are taught that certain types of people are to be feared or approached with caution.  As it turns out, the “certain” type may just mean “different.” We also categorize others in order to feel better about ourselves; a form of superiority complex that is often based on insecurity. Additionally, the pressures of college (for instance, academic anxiety), will often bolster our instinct to categorize and distinguish.  However, this rubs directly against the vital listening element of leadership. Because we embrace those instincts to be safe and superior (academically, politically, or otherwise), it makes us demonize other perspectives and points of view, sometimes without even knowing it.

Amphitheater Theory

I remember going to a concert with a friend and my best friend’s mom Janis while in high school. (My best buddy Steve liked music but not enough to go the concert). My friend and I sat together in the upper left corner of the amphitheater, while Janis had a seat in the lower level, dead center.  (And if you want to know, it was the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC.) After the concert, we were amazed that Janis saw some different things than what we’d seen. It was literally like she was at another concert.

This experience made me come up with what I call the “Amphitheater Theory.”  Basically, how you see things most often begins with where you sit. If you walk into a movie theater and sit to the left of the center, you must look to the right to see the screen.  If you are on the right side, you have to look to the left. Imagine jumping up and yelling to the person on the other side of the theater: “How could you possibly look to the left….I (emphasis on “I”) have to look to the right!”  Similarly, when leaders fail to listen to others, they effectively say: “how DARE you have a different point of view?” Our views are often based on our upbringing, the teachings of our parents, the flow of our communities, the news that we watch, and other observations made in our comfort zone.  In fact, decisions often out of our hands significantly shape the things that we see early on, which in turn, inform our point of view. Each of our views can be valid, while they are different.

You’d Better Recognize!

To be an effective leader, you must recognize that other points of view exist. It should not hurt to recognize that another person in your class, fraternity, or student government sits somewhere else in the amphitheater of life.  Listening and recognizing other points of view is strength, not weakness. Other perspectives may be used to solidify your own point of view, or to even modify your thoughts in some ways. In fact, most of the time, some of both will end up occurring.  Leaders that listen do evolve, and even change. There will be much to communicate about in your current group or project endeavor. In an irony, though, you will work better together (making you more effective as a leader) if you show your ability to communicate (including listening) as to something unrelated to the job at hand, or project in the future.

Leaders must not be afraid to communicate, and specifically to listen.  When leaders understand the importance of listening and make it a priority, they empower themselves and everyone around them.  This helps to identify and solidify the “same page” that those involved in a group or project will stand on to help them accomplish worthy team goals.

Learn more about Joseph Richardson and his programs, visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/richardson/

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Leadership Development That Changes Behavior http://www.campuspeak.com/leadership-development-changes-behavior/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:19:30 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27340 By: Tom Healy Two years ago, I decided to develop “Limitless Leadership”, a workshop that utilizes a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment and has students develop their own Personal Leadership Plan. My mission with “Limitless Leadership” was simple: utilize a powerful assessment tool to help students identify how they are uniquely hard-wired as leaders and have them […]

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By: Tom Healy
Two years ago, I decided to develop “Limitless Leadership”, a workshop that utilizes a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment and has students develop their own Personal Leadership Plan. My mission with “Limitless Leadership” was simple: utilize a powerful assessment tool to help students identify how they are uniquely hard-wired as leaders and have them put pen to paper to determine what specifically they will do to make a positive impact as a leader immediately.

I did my best to give students what I wish I had when I was a student leader. I am proud of the impact this workshop has had on students across the country and invite you to learn more about it in this video:


To learn more about Tom Healy and “Limitless Leadership”, please visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/healy/ or contact us at info@campuspeak.com to discuss how he can help your students!

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Do you have Foundational Confidence? http://www.campuspeak.com/do-you-have-foundational-confidence/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:06:03 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27338 By: Darryl Bellamy JR. Writing the second book might be harder than the first, but when I write something I feel is important I can’t help but share. I’m excited to share a piece of my writing with you as this might apply to something you’re currently experiencing. After reading thousands of fears, I came […]

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By: Darryl Bellamy JR.

Writing the second book might be harder than the first, but when I write something I feel is important I can’t help but share. I’m excited to share a piece of my writing with you as this might apply to something you’re currently experiencing.

After reading thousands of fears, I came to the conclusion that many of your fears come down to a lack of confidence or lack of belief in yourself. I have disdain for mentioning confidence because it’s such a buzzword, but it must be discussed. When I’m sitting on a plane or the floor next to the bed (my favorite reading spot), I often get emotional as I read your fears which revolve around confidence. Many revolve around what you believe about yourself and what you’re capable of achieving. I sit down and ponder where did all this come from, who convinced you weren’t good enough or that you don’t measure up? 

Maybe it comes down to small things that are or has happened in your life, and you convinced yourself that you weren’t worthy. When it comes to being fearless and pushing through those things standing in your way Foundational Confidence is what’s needed. Foundational Confidence is that deep down belief, on the deepest level, it can’t be hidden, you might even sometimes doubt it, but that idea that you know you are destined for great things and you’re worthy achieving it. The thing about Foundational Confidence and the reason why it’s foundational is that once it’s created it hard to break or tear down. Consider a house, you will notice that even after tornados, the home will be damaged and blown away, but the foundation will still be visible, why is that? It’s because the foundation is heavily fortified and no matter what comes at it, it won’t move.

When working on pushing past fear, it’s time to look into how your Foundational Confidence is built, because until that foundation is rebuilt, you’re going to have a hard time moving forward. The problem with your Foundational Confidence is that past experiences and people have built most of it without our knowledge. As we grow older, we are now in charge of tearing down the house to repair and adjust pieces of the foundation that are not serving our future.  What I noticed is that those who can push through their fears the easiest have foundational principles that they believe strongly about themselves and they don’t waiver. When they do doubt, they always find a way back to their foundation that reaffirms their belief in themselves.

How strong is your foundational confidence and what do you need to rebuild to push past fear? Start with something small today, you’ll be surprised at how those small steps add up.

Stay Fearless. 

Darryl

To learn more about Darryl and his programs visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/bellamy/

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Real Men Talk About Their Feelings… for Real http://www.campuspeak.com/real-men-talk-feelings-real/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 20:35:40 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27321 By: Josh Rivedal Men are willing to talk about the size of their prostate glands, or how much Viagra they’re allowed to take, but they’re still not willing to be open about their mental health. If men want to live long, healthy and productive lives it’s absolutely crucial that the dialogue surrounding men’s mental health […]

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By: Josh Rivedal

Men are willing to talk about the size of their prostate glands, or how much Viagra they’re allowed to take, but they’re still not willing to be open about their mental health.

If men want to live long, healthy and productive lives it’s absolutely crucial that the dialogue surrounding men’s mental health has to change.

I lost my father Douglas to suicide in 2009. Douglas lost his father Haakon to suicide in 1966. Each suffered from undiagnosed mental disorders and each suffered in silence because of the stigma surrounding men talking about and getting help for mental illness.

Haakon was dealing with post-traumatic stress after having been shot down in Hamburg, Germany, in 1941. My father may have been clinically depressed for a very long time, but my mother filing for divorce was a catalyst (not the cause) for his action in taking his own life.

In 2011, I had several catalysts for my own near-suicide attempt while in college: the dissolution of a relationship with a long-term girlfriend (similar to a divorce), a lack of work, and fallout from my mother’s betrayal. I was in terrible emotional pain and unknowingly suffering from clinical depression.

Standing at the ledge of a fourth floor window, I realized I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to end my inner torment. And I needed to break the familial cycle. So I came back inside, took a risk and asked for help by calling my mother. Over the next few months I continued to take more risks. I called old friends to tell them I needed their support. I started talking to a therapist in my college’s counseling center. And no one ever told me I was crazy, stupid or a bad person. They told me they loved me and wanted to help me.

While recovering from clinical depression, I wanted to help other college students. So I started telling my story on colleges campuses all across the U.S. and Canada (175+ campuses to date). With it, I talk about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. Most of my audiences were and still continue to be women. One of the things I’ve found is that men have a difficult time talking about and getting help for their mental health or if they’re feeling suicidal. There seems to be some societal pressure that says “You’re not a true man if you don’t have it all together, all the time.”

But for men and for anyone else struggling I have a simple message that’s simple yet profound. There’s always hope and help out there for you. As a man, a college student, a son, a friend, a human-being who has suffered from clinical depression, I can say from personal experience that this is not a character flaw or a weakness. It doesn’t make you any less of anything—a man, woman, two-spirit superhero, whatever. In fact, by asking for help it makes you stronger. It gives you a fighting chance to improve your life and become the person you want to be. Reach out to your family and friends and ask for help. Nip it in the bud before it can turn into a crisis.

This world is a beautiful tapestry of individual threads made of more than seven billion beautiful people—all telling an incredible, breathtaking, painful, miraculous story. We need you because without your thread, the tapestry of the human race becomes frayed and dull.

To learn more about Josh Rivedal and his programs on Mental Health visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/rivedal/

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How Does one find their life’s Passion? By Serving Others http://www.campuspeak.com/one-find-lifes-passion-serving-others/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 20:22:52 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27317 By: Andrea Mosby Now-a-days we are asked to volunteer for many different things from serving at food banks to walk-a-thons to participating in breast cancer awareness events. All of which are important, but while volunteering, we volunteer mechanically without thought just to get it over with. To Volunteer is to give of one’s self and to truly find […]

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By: Andrea Mosby

Now-a-days we are asked to volunteer for many different things from serving at food banks to walk-a-thons to participating in breast cancer awareness events. All of which are important, but while volunteering, we volunteer mechanically without thought just to get it over with.

To Volunteer is to give of one’s self and to truly find out who you are and what you are made of. There are many advantages to volunteering, but I’d like to highlight three that I believe are the difference in finding one’s passion and determining one’s destination for life.

Before I began my professional speaking career, my younger sister approached me and asked if I’d speak at her school about the topic of teen pregnancy. She indicated that they were having a panel of speakers to talk on their experience. I immediately said, “Yes.” And the experience was life changing. I discovered that I had the ability to tell stories that were very relatable and at times even funny, but, I could get a serious point across. After my initial presentation, I was rewarded with a request from teachers asking if I’d come back to speak to the students because of their positive response.

I found myself volunteering to go to the school once a month to speak with the students. What I got out of the experience was well above what I believe the students received from me. I realized I had a skill to speak. I also realized I had a story that needed to be shared, which brought value to others through my experiences and message.

The first level of volunteering is to say Yes. So often we hesitate to say yes to an experience that will cause us to move out of our comfort zone, but yet moving out of our comfort zone is the key to finding your “Zone”.

The second level of volunteering is being willing to be vulnerable. Had you been at that presentation on teen pregnancy, you would have heard how nervous I sounded, how much I stuttered and stammered during the presentation, yet it seemed like the students were willing to allow me not to be perfect, because the message was truly authentic.

This brings me to the final level in finding one’s Passion.

The third level is to be authentic. When my sister asked me to speak, it was because she witnessed the point in my life where I struggled yet she also saw how I was living my life in total authenticity. I wasn’t trying to be anything other than a great mom to my son. While she saw the challenges I faced every day, she believed that my story might help other teens to delay having a child as a teen. She believed I could help them to move past their current challenges and become successful in their lives.

So how does one find their “Passion” ?* First say “Yes,” secondly by being willing to be “Vulnerable” and thirdly by being true to thine own “Authentic Self”.

The rest will follow.

To learn more about Andrea Mosby and her programs visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/mosby/

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COMPASSION: A WAY TO RISE ABOVE OURSELVES http://www.campuspeak.com/compassion-way-rise/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 20:15:29 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27311 By: Corey Ciocchetti A perfect way to ponder compassion comes from professor Mason Cooley: “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” Isn’t that a wonderful way to think of it? When we’re compassionate, we stop worrying solely about our lives, our problems, and our to-do lists and begin […]

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By: Corey Ciocchetti

A perfect way to ponder compassion comes from professor Mason Cooley: “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” Isn’t that a wonderful way to think of it? When we’re compassionate, we stop worrying solely about our lives, our problems, and our to-do lists and begin to care about the plight of others. We plug into the people around us, lift them up, and try and make their lives shine. When we help people in need like this . . . we glow. Think about how amazing it felt the last time you truly felt someone’s pain and then helped them out of a rough spot. What a great feeling, right? Now, think about how the person you helped felt? Probably one thousand times better than you felt, right?

Let me add some context. When I was a little kid, we were flat broke. My dad was AWOL and I remember watching my mom struggle to find enough money to buy groceries. Though I don’t remember a ton about being seven years old, I do remember one day very clearly. I remember mom crying on her way to the mailbox one afternoon. She was working really hard, but money was tight. She got to the mailbox, opened the little door and found a $200 gift certificate for King Soopers (a local grocery store). It was in a blank envelope, no one’s name was attached. There was no postage; someone just stuck it in our mailbox and drove off. That money would buy us groceries for a month.

It’s tough to put into words the look on my mom’s face and her reaction. The best picture I can paint is: pure happiness and humbling thankfulness to the point of tears. I remember that she talked about this act of generosity non-stop for the next week. Who could have done such a kind thing? Why didn’t they put their name on it? How did they know that we were so desperate?

She went through names of people we knew and even called some friends and family members to ask. No one took responsibility. She thought it could have come from someone at our church, but how could they know our financial situation? We never found out who stuck that money in our mailbox. Of course, that was the donor’s point. It wasn’t done for the recognition, but merely because it was a compassionate thing to do.

Even without any recognition from us, my guess is that donor felt pretty good after such a kind act. But, I can promise that my mom felt one thousand times better. And, she passed that feeling on to my sister and to me – so much so that here I am writing about it 30 years later. The gift-giver made a huge difference in our lives with that $200. The act was the dictionary definition of true compassion. I’ll prove it.

COMPASSION DEFINED

According to Merriam-Webster, compassion is possessing “sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” What a great definition! Notice the two pieces of true compassion: (1) feeling sympathy and then (2) desiring to help. Too often we default to the sympathy piece because that’s easier. It’s easy to feel sorry for someone and do nothing to make life better for that person. We leave the help piece to someone else. In these instances, I guess we can call ourselves “half-compassionate” at worst or perhaps empathetic at best. That doesn’t sound so great does it? So, this week, let’s strive to do better.

As you think about how to be more compassionate this week, here are some common questions that help break down the concept:

1. HOW DO COMPASSION & EMPATHY DIFFER?

Compassion – properly defined – is a broader concept than empathy. Empathy is the ability to relate to other’s pain. Both compassion and empathy are virtues and worthy of praise when acted upon. Compassion, however, is more acting guiding. Empathy is a state of mind while compassion is a state of mind + some intentional actions to alleviate pain. Put it like that and I bet you’d rather someone show you compassion than empathy! Me too.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that your best friend lost her job. It was a good job and she relied on the steady paycheck. You empathize with her when you put yourself in her position and try to feel as if you just lost a much-needed job. Good friends emphasize like that. Compassion, on the other hand, is feeling sad that your friend lost her job AND then helping her find a better one or helping her get by for a few months. Awesome friends show compassion like that.

2. BUT, ISN’T COMPASSION JUST A FORM OF PITY?

Some people define compassion as the mere pitying of another. To pity someone is to feel sorry for them and their pain. The feeling may be sincere but, when we pity someone, we inherently think of them as lesser than we are. Think of commercials that show starving children in third-world countries. The intent is often to invoke a sense of pity in the viewer. And it works. We feel bad from them, but then rationalize doing nothing to help by saying that they are just so far away. In philosophy, this is called an “appeal to pity” – an attempt to manipulate someone’s emotions so that they give money or support a cause. It’s ethically questionable and isn’t that effective because we don’t see these people as our peers. We pity them but don’t necessairily have compassion for them.

This is why I think it’s a mistake to conflate compassion with pity. The origin of the word compassion (or it’s “etymology” for the nerds in the group) is Latin and means to co-suffer with another. Think about it like this: if you truly co-suffer with someone then you want the thing causing the pain to stop, right? That means that you desire to take actions to make it stop, right? You wouldn’t pity them or think of them as lesser than you. Their pain is your pain. So, I think the proper way to look at compassion is the sympathy + action definition above. Forget pity and practice more compassion. You cannot help everyone in need, of coruse, which is why empathy still matters. Sometimes that’s all people need – someone to empathize with them. But, there is a chance you can be more compassionate than you are today. That’s the goal for this week.

3. HOW DO I FIND THE GOLDEN MEAN OF COMPASSION?

Remember, you can lack compassion or be too compassionate. My guess is that the vast majority of us fall on one side or the other of this spectrum. Neither of these positions are virtuous and straying from the Golden Mean in this way is disruptive to authentic happiness.

For example, a person who lacks compassion is a jerk. Do you believe the world has too many jerks? Are you one of them? If so, you need to practice more compassion. This will move you towards the Golden Mean of this key virtue. This will also make you a happier person and your community a better place. That is one of my goals this week – to be less of a jerk and more compassionate.

On the other hand, are you too compassionate? These are the doormats of the world. And, being a doormat is not a good thing either. Doormats get walked all over, they are used and abused by the jerks of this world. Doormats need to be less compassionate! This will move you towards the Golden Mean of this key virtue. Who talks like that? Well, Aristotle of course.

His advice is for each of us to seek the Golden Mean between jerk and doormat. There lies true compassion.

IN CONCLUSION . . . BE COMPASSIONATE 
(YOU KNEW I WAS GOING TO SAY THAT)

So . . . here is your homework for the week:

  1. Identify whether you are more of a jerk or more of a doormat? Then, add some compassion to your life or remove some accordingly. Do this for a week and see if you start to become a happier person.
  2. Try to differentiate between pity, empathy, and compassion in your daily decisions. How often do you pity people? How often do you empathize with people but do nothing to help? And, how often do you act compassionately – feel sympathy and then lend a helping hand? Try to slowly move from pity to compassion keeping in mind that you cannot help everyone in need but you can help someone in need.
  3. Practice one act of compassion this week. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge financial or time commitment. The $200 given to my mom made a huge difference to our struggling family and my guess is that the donor barely felt the financial pain of the gift. Taking the time to chat with someone who is lonely counts too. As does helping someone gain confidence – whether in school or at a job. The universe of ways to practice compassion is vast so pick one.
  4. Oh and, by the way, compassion is what we expect from high-character individuals. This is why we answer, “Yes, for sure,” when asked if we are compassionate. No one says. “No, I’m really more of a jerk.” They may actually be a jerk, mind you, but no one admits that. We all want to at least appear compassionate. But, I believe that we actually want to be compassionate too. Here is your chance.

Let’s take a step back this week and think about and then practice what it means to rise above ourselves and care about others . . . to be truly compassionate.

For more information about Corey’s programs, visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/corey/

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How being CRAZY NERVOUS can actually help you achieve more http://www.campuspeak.com/crazy-nervous-can-actually-help-achieve/ Thu, 15 Mar 2018 20:59:17 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27182 By: Justin Jones-Fosu When was the last time you were CRAZY NERVOUS?  To see the last time I was crazy nervous make sure you watch the video with this post (seriously watch the video and you might just laugh). Welcome back!  While I get nervous before all of my presentations (which for me means that […]

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By: Justin Jones-Fosu

When was the last time you were CRAZY NERVOUS?  To see the last time I was crazy nervous make sure you watch the video with this post (seriously watch the video and you might just laugh).

Welcome back!  While I get nervous before all of my presentations (which for me means that I care) the time in the video was wildly different.

My wife and I were on our Annual Honeymoon (yeah…it’s a thing) in Costa Rica this winter and I ended up on stage doing Michael Jackson at the hotel before all the guests for the evening entertainment (it’s a long story how I ended up there).  Before I came out on stage my heart was racing uncommonly.  It literally felt like it was going to beat out of my chest and I realized I was crazy nervous.  I did not expect to be that nervous because I sometimes will do Michael Jackson in my presentations (this is also a long story but I welcome your asking).  You may wonder what was different this time.

My clients (staff and students) bring me in to share about Passion, Purpose, Leadership, and Diversity and I will sometimes throw in MJ to prove a point or to artistically show what my research shows (and it’s actually really fun).  I was not speaking at this hotel.  All I did was MJ and I was scared to death to be judged on my moonwalk, sparkling glove, and my hat toss alone.  I did not have my speaking to lean on and it terrified me.  When I finished doing MJ (it wasn’t my best rendition) it felt so great to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone.  That evening I reflected on what happened and I realized that being CRAZY NERVOUS was really good for me and my achievement.

Here is how it can help you.  When you are crazy nervous it usually means you are doing something that you have never done before, doing something to a magnitude you have not done before, and/or challenging yourself in a way you haven’t challenged yourself before.  This is valuable because it can have a carry-over affect to your work and inspiring an innovative life.  This is also important because in our “strength-based” society people are doing less and less of what makes them uncomfortable, but what makes us uncomfortable is what fuels both a learning-based mindset and opportunities for us to grow in diversity and inclusion.  When you operate in a learning-based mindset it is not about performing well against others, but rather about continually learning even when you fail and failing is extremely important to our growth and development.  One thing I always say is that if you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough!  Here are some practical ways I challenge myself and maybe it will give you some ideas:

1. #Birthdaychallenge: Every birthday I do what I call the #birthdaychallenge where I do something that I have never done but have always wanted to do.  My first challenge was to run a marathon.  The first year I failed at it, and the second year I ran (well mostly ran with a little walking and breathing very heavy) my first marathon.  The next year I went skiing for the first time with some fraternity brothers in Vail, Colorado.  This year I plan on learning to sail, and I am not yet sure what I will do for next year.  What will you #birthdaychallenge be this year?

2. #6monthchallenge: In my everyday diversity research and presentations I share that diversity is not a hand holding exercise where we all agree, but rather when we disagree how do we still respect each other and see each other’s humanity.  One way I do this is by nearly every 6 months I challenge myself to go to something and/or engage in learning in something in which I disagree or do not know a lot about.  This has allowed me to see peoples humanity even in areas which I disagree

3. Random Experiences: I did not plan on doing MJ in Costa Rica in front of all the hotel guests, but an opportunity presented itself and I challenged myself to step up and try.  I was afraid that they wouldn’t like, that they would boo, that I would do a horrible job, but in the end that decision to dance impacted me greatly and made me believe I should challenge myself even in my professional work.

What will you do in the next month to be CRAZY NERVOUS?  Shoot me a video or email to let me know how it went at Justin@campuspeak.com and if you happen to do MJ, I challenge you to an MJ off…haha!

—–

Justin has great leadership and diversity strategies embedded in his keynote.  Whether you are looking for leadership, diversity, or purpose driven inspiration check out Justin and his ability to intersect amazing energy and practical content.

For your staff and/or students to see Justin do MJ Check out one of Justin’s most requested Keynotes “WHY Matters Now: How Purpose and Passion Inspire Meaningful Success” and see why Justin was named as a “HOT ACT” in 2015 by Campus Activities Magazine.  Justin also inspires great vulnerability in his bravest Keynote “Embracing EVERYDAY Diversity: Moving from Head to HEART!” For more information about Justin’s programs, visit http://www.campuspeak.com/jones-fosu/

As an added bonus for making it to the end, this was my encore presentation that evening:

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Unmasking Leadership http://www.campuspeak.com/unmasking-leadership/ Thu, 15 Mar 2018 20:51:40 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27179 By: Rachel DeAlto Eating disorder recoveree. Mom at 20. Divorced. Toxic relationship survivor. These aren’t my typical go-to descriptions when I introduce myself. I tend to lead with: relationship expert, TV professional, entrepreneur, coach, or former attorney. Those are the titles that make me look good, right? The truth is, ALL of those titles define […]

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By: Rachel DeAlto

Eating disorder recoveree.

Mom at 20.

Divorced.

Toxic relationship survivor.

These aren’t my typical go-to descriptions when I introduce myself. I tend to lead with: relationship expert, TV professional, entrepreneur, coach, or former attorney. Those are the titles that make me look good, right?

The truth is, ALL of those titles define me. Yet, those initial descriptors are what made me. I may not lead with them, but they are always a part of my story.

Overcoming an eating disorder is what led me to love and accept my body – and myself. Having my son at 20 was a crash course in prioritization and selflessness. Removing myself from a toxic marriage allowed me to discover my worth, and true self.

These times in my life were far from easy, but they were essential to building the strength and confidence I have today.

I am proud of my past, and I share it intentionally. I share these aspects of my story so people know I am far from perfect. I share so that people can identify with and relate to me. I share it because I am proud of what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and know that others are capable reach this destination as well.

Being vulnerable about my story allows me to be a better leader, speaker, and connector. So often, we wear masks. We believe that giving the impression of perfection increases the likelihood of our success. We think that sharing our flaws or the parts of ourselves that are less than amazing will cause our failure. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The world is in dire need of authenticity, vulnerability, and real connections – especially from our leaders.

You may not have had the same experiences, but you too have a story. You have chapters that you may have been afraid to read out loud – for fear of judgment, or because you believed in some way your past makes you “less then”.

I urge you to take off your masks, and share your past. Tell me your story, and show me how your past has shaped you. Allow yourself to use your vulnerability to connect – to colleagues, students, and friends.

I assure you, everyone has a story.  It’s time to share yours, so others can connect with and learn from you.

Rachel DeAlto’s new leadership workshop explores what it takes to be vulnerable, authentic, and to tell your story. To learn more about Rachel DeAlto and her programs, visit http://www.campuspeak.com/dealto

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After the Assault: Self-Care for Recovery http://www.campuspeak.com/assault-self-care-recovery/ Thu, 15 Mar 2018 20:47:57 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27177 By: Brittany Piper I still remember that concrete jail cell, the coldness of the ground, the bareness of the walls. I remember thinking—this isn’t supposed to be a part of my story. How did I end up here? In 2009, at the age of 20, I was brutally raped and beaten by a stranger who […]

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By: Brittany Piper

I still remember that concrete jail cell, the coldness of the ground, the bareness of the walls. I remember thinking—this isn’t supposed to be a part of my story. How did I end up here?

In 2009, at the age of 20, I was brutally raped and beaten by a stranger who offered to help me change my flat tire. By 2011 I had completely unraveled. Although I survived my assault, I allowed myself to become a victim of the turmoil that consumed me in its wake. For the two years following my attack, I desperately tried to suppress my pain, never acknowledging it’s existence until it festered and reappeared like catastrophic bombs in my life, obliterating everything I cherished.

Shame, guilt, anger, insecurity, sadness, fear, self-hatred; I battled with depression and anxiety attacks. These emotions took over my life and became so heavy to carry that I started to numb myself through heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, out of that self-hatred and shame, I punished my body by neglecting it and starving it. I was on the path to total self-destruction.

Looking back now, it’s plain to see how I ended up in that jail cell. After a night of heavy drinking, the person who was driving me home was arrested for driving under the influence. When the police officers attempted to forcefully remove me from the car as to drive me home, I was immediately taken back to the night of my assault. I snapped. What transpired resulted in me being charged with two counts of Battery On An Officer With Injury, one count of Resisting Arrest and another count of Intimidation.

I vividly remember going before the judge, who knew who I was in relation to my assault case. Her words have stuck with me to this day: “You need to handle your trauma better than this.” And with that, she withdrew the charges. Handle is defined as “to manage, deal with, or be responsible for.” I realized that I couldn’t neglect my experience any longer. I was responsible for nurturing myself to a place of healing, from the inside out. I also enabled this chapter in my story to make me more empathetic and appreciative of the beauty all around me. By fostering a #MeFIRST mentality and committing to a routine of self-care and self-love, I literally saved my own life.

Now today, as a Women’s Studies Scholar, International Photojournalist for women’s organizations in conflict countries, Sexual Assault Speaker, and Wellness Workshop Coach for women’s groups on college campuses, I have found that my greatest purposes have been rooted in my deepest sufferings.

So how can survivors equip themselves with the tools and practices of self-care and self-love that are detrimental during recovery? How can survivors find a balance between welcoming that chapter of brokenness into their lives and not letting it become their life’s story? Although everyone’s self-care routine is personal and unique to them, here are some examples of the ways that I practiced and continue to practice self-care today:

1.Welcome Your Brokenness.  This means acknowledging your wounds and letting yourself feel all that you need to in order to process and recover. Seek counseling, join group therapy for survivors, journal, confide in friends, meditate, seek prayer.

2. Self-care for the heart: Set boundaries around your heart, these are personal property lines to your healing.

• People: when we experience those giant falls in life, we often rely on the people around us for support. Is your “support system” actually supporting you? Are they keeping you down or picking you up? Rely on wholesome friendships, the people who make you whole and don’t deplete you.

•Unplug: What aspects of the outside world are speaking into your life? Turn off technology when you can. Shut off the world’s voice so you can hear your voice more clearly and what it’s telling you it needs.

3. Self-care for the body: Our bodies are often the first thing we punish and neglect when dealing with trauma. We numb it, abuse it, starve it and speak poorly to it. But we have to remember it’s our most faithful companion.

•Honor your body: Similar to any relationship you have, you should tell that person you love them, you appreciate them, they’re beautiful and strong, they’re safe. Speak kindly to your body. Write loving messages on your mirror. Even write yourself a love letter.

•Exercise: Our bodies carry our emotions and exercising (and stretching) releases that tension. Exercise also produces serotonin (our feel-good hormone) and it’s a way to show appreciation for our body’s strengths, abilities, and healing power.

•Balanced Diet: Listen to your body. Give it the nutrients it needs to support your overall mental and emotional healing, but also treat yourself without welcoming shame or guilt. Survivors need to experience less shame, guilt and control during recovery.

•Stress-reducing foods: Your gut produces 90% of your body’s serotonin. Researchers refer to your gut as the second brain, as its health greatly affects your thoughts, mood, clarity, and perception of the world. Psychiatrists are finding that proper dietary changes are sometimes more effective in treating depression and anxiety than medications. Ultimately, the healthier you eat, the happier you are.

4.Self-care for the Mind: What nurturing thoughts are you feeding your mind?

•Meditation: Meditation means state of rest. What are you doing when you’re resting? For instance: are you listening to sad music or scrolling through social media that brings you down? Instead, listen to encouraging and therapeutic things.

•Mindfulness: You have nearly 70,000 thoughts a day, with 80% being negative. Whether you’re experiencing shame, depression or guilt from your past, or anxiety and stress about the future—setting your mind on the present has been a proven way to quiet and calm your thoughts and emotions. Additionally, you can learn to not only quiet your thoughts, but also control them so that they support you in a positive way. Some practices to incorporate in your self-care routine are:

o   Research has shown that keeping a journal strengthens immune cells. Journal for five minutes each morning or night and answer: “Today I am grateful for…” “What can I release from today that no longer serves me?” “What made me feel calm today?”

o   Make a short list of affirming “I am…” declarations. Some examples: “I am resilient. I am beautiful. I am loved. I am fearless. I am blessed…” Loving thoughts create loving actions. Declare love into your life.

o   Set daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal intentions to keep you motivated and moving forward with purpose.  Plan a day, trip or event that’s just for you.

o   Practice breathing exercises that will bring you into a more reflective state where you can quiet that inner, distracting dialogue. Concentrate on this pattern of breathing: inhale through your nose for four seconds, pause for one second, exhale/release the breath through your mouth for five seconds, and repeat. Do this until your mind is clear and relaxed.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Planning an event related to Sexual Assault Awareness or Self-Care for Recovery? To learn more about Brittany Piper and her impactful program and workshop offerings, visit campuspeak.com/brittany

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Our Communities Deserve More than No Means No http://www.campuspeak.com/communities-deserve-no-means-no/ Wed, 07 Mar 2018 22:38:41 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27144 By: Tim  Mousseau “No Means No.” “Don’t Rape.” “Real Men Don’t Rape.” For the last few decades, these slogans have stood at the forefront of education concerning sexual violence prevention. Plastered across fliers, hung up around campuses, written on signs, and blasted across the slides of presenters from high school to college programs on sexual violence […]

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By: Tim  Mousseau

“No Means No.” “Don’t Rape.” “Real Men Don’t Rape.”

For the last few decades, these slogans have stood at the forefront of education concerning sexual violence prevention. Plastered across fliers, hung up around campuses, written on signs, and blasted across the slides of presenters from high school to college programs on sexual violence prevention. At this point, these mantras have become rallying cries for some educators and advocates surrounding this issue.

Where the intent of these campaigns are noble, the application and implementation of them are a little more harmful than intended and lead to a failure to properly educate our student populations around the complexities of the issues of sexual violence prevention, sexual assault, and the vastly convoluted topic of consent. Conversely, these campaigns also infantilize the problem, taking sex, which we know is a profoundly personal situation between two or more unique individuals, and attempts to break it down into its most simple parts.

The problem is that sex is not transactional. Often the issues our students, and even professionals, are running into are less the black and white of healthy sexual relationships vs. violent or deliberate assault. Instead, many of our students are facing the grey areas of sex where participants are unclear of what is occurring in their relationships with a multitude of partners and thus, creating opportunities for sexual violence to occur.

To clarify, I want to illuminate on a few points. First and foremost, as a survivor, I want to reinforce that no one chooses to be sexually assaulted and survivors deserve the support of their communities. Second, I do not believe that if every student were educated about the role of consent and how to talk about sex, we would prevent all forms of sexual violence. We often know sexual assault is an act of power, not one of actual sex. Believe me, I know that if the person who drugged, raped, and stalked me knew more about consent it would not have stopped them. Third, I also know that intent does not equal impact. For many students I work with I have to clarify for them that where their desire was not to cause harm or commit an act of sexual assault or violence, ignorance is not a pass for the damage caused to another.

What I do know, however, is that research shows that a vast majority of individuals would not willfully commit acts of sexual violence if they were given the opportunity. The problem therein lies that many individuals are committing assaults without knowing they are causing harm because they have never been properly trained on how to discuss consent and its complexities, they are not aware of power dynamics, or because of they are uncertain about the role of alcohol and drugs when involved in consent.

Here lies the reason we must shift away from only “No means No” type programs of education. Our students understand that they should not commit rape and it is important we still teach programs like bystander intervention and how to recognize predatory behavior for the cases where there is an ill intent. A large shift to our education should also stem from cultivating spaces where students can learn how to communicate their values around sex better, learn how to talk with partners in a realistic perspective, and be educated about the unintended harm they can cause through their actions.

Here are a few things we must consider as we begin approaching this topic.

Approaching Sex from a Genuine Perspective

Reflecting back on the point that “no means No” often infantilizes sex, our educational approaches need to move away from treating any student population as uneducated or not ready to have blunt, open conversations around sex. Discussing statistics around assault and throwing around high-level terms about consent is not enough. We know that sex is a complex thing occurring between parties and for every relationship, the way parties explore consent, communicate their values, and engage in activities is different depending on a slew of factors.

Part of the topics we need to consider approaching lie outside of the realm of what is black and white and instead facing the grey areas of sex head-on. For example, a majority if not all of our students understand no means no. Questions I hear emerging from students when given the opportunity to speak openly however are less around what is violent rape and more what are the lines between coercion versus seduction? What about harassment versus flirting? What are healthy relationships and how can we talk to peers when we are concerned? What are the roles of alcohol and drugs in consent?

None of these are black and white and to try and make education a one-answer-focus fails. Whenever we are considering these issues, we need to speak to them with open honesty and a willingness to be challenged by our students. Also, we must be open to addressing problematic behaviors or mentalities not with scorn but instead from a place of education.

I will never agree with problematic behavior, but it is not my place to speak down to these individuals and instead to work with them to understand why their view is negative and help provide a solution to move away from this. Part of what we know is that this is delicate work, and we must be prepared to address it as such but while still addressing it maturely.

Educating Students about their Sexual Values

Everyone has different values on how they select and engage with their sexual partners. These values are influenced by their upbringing, family members, religious beliefs, personal preferences, and how they have been educated about sex. Some students might be comfortable with casual hookups where others are not. Some might want to wait until marriage for sex where others only want a committed relationship and others still just desire a mutual connection. There is a whole depth I could go in here, but none of these values are right; they are personal values each person must establish for themselves.

The importance lie in helping students discern their values around sex, help them explore how to communicate these values, and how to teach them about the evolution of these values as they experience sex in their own life.

If our students do not know their values around sex, they will not be able to communicate them to their partners. Even more so, when our students don’t know their values around sex, they will not be able to have conversations with peers and friends about these values which in turn can dictate how their friends support and assist them throughout their different relationships.

Understanding & Acknowledging the Dangers of Predatory Behavior

With everyone being better trained about sex and consent, this does not prohibit predatory behavior from occurring. No Means No and Don’t Rape touch on the highest level of this behavior but fail to cover a variety of acts that can cause harm or unintentionally cross boundaries. Even as students explore their values around the sex they are engaging in, and how to have healthy conversations on sex, it is vital to educate on the role of dangerous and predatory behavior.

These types of education should cover and address what predatory behavior looks like, successful steps for bystander intervention, how to recognize and address problematic mindsets, and also the importance of acknowledging that harm can be caused regardless of someone’s intentions. In covering these topics, we must be clear sexual assault or sexual violence is never acceptable behavior, and we must give students the room to have conversations about how they can individually be a part of a solution in realistically preventing these behaviors.

With regards to this type of training, it is essential also to be prepared to address the impact sexual violence has on survivors of sexual assault.

Providing Support for Survivors

Again, regardless of our educational efforts we must always address and acknowledge that no one ever chooses to be sexually assaulted and regardless of the circumstances, survivors are not at fault. This is key in educating on this topic area to ensure those who may have experienced any more of sexual violence are appropriately supported in their journey and understand that they are not to blame for the behaviors of another who choose to commit an act of sexual violence.

Educating on this topic takes care, compassion, and the proper choice of words and information. There is a delicacy we must always be aware of when breaching this topic as where our intent may be to create education; it is important always to remember the maxim that intent does not equal impact.

Whenever you are working on these topics, I always advocate for bringing in the right professionals who are trained on explicitly supporting survivors. Your campus no doubt has a variety of individuals who are capable of providing the delicate support needed in this situation, make sure to leverage and use their expertise when embarking on these lines of education.

 

Sadly, I understand there is no one size fits all solution to educating on sexual violence prevention nor any one set answer to fixing this issue. If I knew how to end sexual violence once and for all, I would have shared this knowledge already.

Working to end sexual assault is a multi-faceted issue that requires care, intentional programming, deliberate education, and the routine hosting of targeted events.

Please know that you are not alone in your work. Regardless of how you are approaching sexual violence prevention, I would love to assist in the conversation and work to help find a solution that best serves your campus, its unique culture, and the needs of your students and peers.

Also, please know I am eternally in the debt of any individual who has decided to help eradicate sexual violence prevention. As a survivor, this is my life work, and I know I cannot do it alone. Thank you for your support in these areas, I know the emotional toll this work can often take, and your support is appreciated beyond words.

Planning for a Sexual Assault Awareness Month event? To learn more about Tim  Mousseau and his powerful program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/mousseau.

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Your Story Is Good Enough http://www.campuspeak.com/good-enough/ Wed, 28 Feb 2018 17:21:27 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27039 By James Robilotta I was asked in a recent interview, “What advice would you give to educators who want to inspire students?” In short, my answer was: Stop telling other people’s stories and start telling your own. Soapbox time. One of my BIGGEST speaker pet peeves is when I hear a speaker quote Gandhi, Martin Luther […]

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By James Robilotta

I was asked in a recent interview, “What advice would you give to educators who want to inspire students?” In short, my answer was: Stop telling other people’s stories and start telling your own.

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Soapbox time. One of my BIGGEST speaker pet peeves is when I hear a speaker quote Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, etc., etc. I think it’s easy, hack, and cliché. Educators, we are better than that. I personally feel it’s not the best use of my words because I am none of those people, and nor will ever I be. If I hear one more time that Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team or that Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” I may boil over. Shout out to Steve Jobs, Henry David Thoreau, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Everyone who I have listed is amazing. They are heroes, societal game changers, the best at what they did, the most innovative, stupidly impressive and worthy of all of the respect and admiration they have.

But here is what we have to remember, mentors. Today’s students will become us before they become the world’s future heroes. Trying to inspire someone with one of the individuals above makes as much sense as trying to motivate a small boy who wants to be a lumberjack with Paul Bunyan’s story. It’s an amazing tale but it’s unrealistic. Instead, introduce that boy to the local logger who is climbing the ladder of success. Or maybe stop cutting down trees…but that’s a topic for another day.

Please note: I’m not saying we can’t have our mentees and our audiences dreaming big. I am saying that we need to give them realistic palpable examples and steps of how to chase down those dreams.

Quotes are an efficient and effective way to springboard into a point, but speakers who quote these people and then drop the mic are doing it wrong. It is only after we break down quotes and follow them up with examples relevant to our audience that we can lead an audience member to water and inspire her or him to drink.

We do that by telling our own stories, where we succeeded, where we slipped and what we learned from both. Inspiring students with personal and tangible examples of things like: creating change, following passion, being better leaders, making a difference, and/or being more socially and globally conscious will expose them to more substantial true-to-life approaches with to how to start.

Here is the kicker, my fellow educators; your story is good enough. Sometimes we feel the need to tell other’s stories because we are self-conscious about our own not having enough weight. Believe me, that’s the exact reason I spoke for free for 3-4 years. Spoiler alert friends: your story is plenty powerful and way more accessible and therefore will be way more effective in inspiring others than if you try and tell someone else’s. So, tell me your story.

This article is from this link.

To learn more about James Robilotta and his programs, visit campuspeak.com/robilotta.

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The Opioid Epidemic is Real http://www.campuspeak.com/opioid-epidemic-real/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 22:21:06 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27101 By Bobby Gordon Communities are scrambling to react. Even when individuals are prescribed painkillers for legitimate reasons, such as surgery, and injury, or other medical reason, they often and inherently have negative related consequences—including death. Here are a few facts: · Opioids and opiates are in the same drug family as Heroin, Opium and Morphine. […]

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By Bobby Gordon

Communities are scrambling to react. Even when individuals are prescribed painkillers for legitimate reasons, such as surgery, and injury, or other medical reason, they often and inherently have negative related consequences—including death. Here are a few facts:

· Opioids and opiates are in the same drug family as Heroin, Opium and Morphine. They are very strong and highly addictive due to the nature of how they reward the pleasure center of the brain. Some examples include Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.
· Opioid substitutes are becoming increasingly common. For example, Fentanyl is nearly 50-100 times more potent than Morphine, and 30-50 times more potent than Heroin. Dealers often cut Heroin with Fentanyl to increase the affect, resulting in addiction and repeat business. These circumstances are resulting in increased overdoses by unsuspecting users.
· Synthetic opioids are becoming less expensive and more readily available due to new laws and cross-tracking with medical providers and pharmacies.
· Withdrawal symptoms are displaced by continuing to take pain-killers.
· Tolerance is quickly built up with opioid pain relievers, meaning that it takes more of the drug to have the same affect felt on a lower dose in a short amount of time.
· Mixing opioids with other drugs, like alcohol, can create a synergistic affect where the combined drugs’ affects can be dangerously multiplied. Combined with the natural side affects of opioids, like slowed breathing and heart rate, the risk of accidental overdose is significantly increased.
· Crushing up painkillers eliminates the time-release formula inherent to many opioids, significantly increasing the risk of overdose.

The negative related consequences are real when it comes to opioids. The pharmaceutical and synthetic opioid landscape has significantly changed over the past two decades. While opioids may have legitimate uses, they should only be used under the care and close supervision of a licensed medical professional.

To learn more about Bobby Gordon and his programs, visit http://www.campuspeak.com/speaker/gordon/.

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Embracing It: How to Talk About Mental Health http://www.campuspeak.com/embracing-talk-mental-health/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 20:54:39 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=27095 By Lauren Cook One of the best ways to begin integrating mental health in our lives is to begin talking about it openly with others. While we can learn about it (naming it) and empower ourselves by seeking out resources (facing it), we also have to begin looking out for each other (embracing it). This […]

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By Lauren Cook

One of the best ways to begin integrating mental health in our lives is to begin talking about it openly with others. While we can learn about it (naming it) and empower ourselves by seeking out resources (facing it), we also have to begin looking out for each other (embracing it). This is a two-fold experience. We need to be open to hearing from others and we need to begin reaching out to those that we see in need.

I know these conversations aren’t always easy or fun, but they are crucial. If you want to have open and honest relationships with the people you love, it means that you have to talk about mental health at some point. Avoiding, denying, or minimizing the problem (if there is one) only makes the situation worse. When you can talk about mental health in a safe way, your relationships will be that much stronger.

What Do I Do if I I Need to Talk to Someone
You may be reading this and having that tickle in your stomach that you need help. Getting help and starting the conversation is the hardest part. It feels risky. You might worry that your family and friends will judge you, they won’t understand, or they will think you’re overreacting. If they have any of those responses or criticisms, then it’s best to reach out to a professional. They work with mental health challenges on a daily basis and are well-equipped to help you.

But how do you begin this conversation? Even telling a professional (who is a stranger) about your hardship can feel just as tough as telling a family member. How can you get through this conversation?
1. Think about what you want to say. Maybe it will help you to write it down, to say it in front of the mirror, or to listen to some music that expresses how you are feeling.
2. Reach out to the person who you truly trust and ask to talk to them in a quiet and private space. Or if this feels too intense, try talking to the person when you’re walking together or driving in the car together. Sometimes less eye contact can make it easier for you to get the words out the first time around.
3. Once you’ve said your piece, give the person a moment to react. They may be surprised, upset, or concerned. Especially if they didn’t see this coming, they may need some time to process.
4. Provide education for them: We all carry around myths and stigmas about mental health. Just as you are learning about mental health, provide the person with resources so that they can learn more themselves.
5. Find normality together: Make time to do something you enjoy together so that the relationship doesn’t feel centered solely around mental health concerns. It might feel a little awkward after you’ve talked with the person but you should be intentional about getting back to activities you enjoy together so that you can feel comfortable once more.
Ultimately, that person you confide in should be there to support you. They shouldn’t make the conversation about them. Instead, the discussion should be about you, your feelings, and the next best steps to take if you need help. Again, if the person doesn’t have that response, I highly recommend seeking a professional who is concerned solely about your wellbeing.

What Do I Do If Someone Is Concerned About Me
What do you do when someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, do you have a minute to talk? I wanted to talk about something with you.” Your stomach probably drops in that moment. We all feel nervous in that moment. Your mind races. What could they possibly have to say? Are they going to embarrass me? Are they going to accuse me? Am I going to cry? Your mind may be brewing with all kinds of ideas and you may be filled with a sense of dread. But as painful as it is in that moment, hit the pause button. Take a deep breath. Give the person a chance and hear them out.

They may say any number of things. Maybe they have noticed that you’ve lost a lot of weight recently (or gained some weight). They are saying that you seem depressed or they have seen you really anxious lately. They might say that they saw scratches on your arms or they think you’re drinking too much. “I’m worried about you,” they say. Woah. That can feel like a lot to hear.
Maybe your secret is out. Or you may be in denial and what they are saying can’t possibly be true. Or, maybe they are generally “off” in their concern—that’s okay—it happens sometimes. It’s better to have a false alarm than a missed warning. What really matters is that you hear this message: “I am concerned because I care about you.” If this is a person who loves you, they will inevitably say this in their message to you. They know that it’s not easy to hear the words they are telling you. And it’s just as hard for them to say the words to you as it is for you to hear them. It takes a lot of courage to reach out to someone who you are worried about—you never know how someone will receive the message.
There are many ways that you can react to someone after they’ve said that they are concerned about you. You can lash out—you can accuse them, get angry with them, and even walk out on them. You can ignore them and say that there is nothing to be concerned about. You can push them away and get back at them. Sure, these are all things you can do. And frankly, it’s probably easier in the moment to have one of these responses than to respond in the most helpful way possible.

As much as it hurts, sometimes, your answer might be: “You’re right.” You can finally acknowledge that you are struggling with depression, or bulimia, or ADHD—whatever it might be. You can finally own that you are having a hard time and that’s okay. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not like you are intentionally doing this to yourself to get attention (and anyone who accuses you of that is lacking information about what it means to live with a mental disorder). The minute you can tell someone that you need help is a moment of herculean strength. It shows incredible maturity, grit, and wisdom. No one can fault you for it. If anything, people will admire your honesty.

A great example of this comes from the late Carrie Fisher (known her for role as Princess Leia in Star Wars). I love how she completely owned her experience with mental health. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and never denied it or minimized it a day in her life. She said, “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”

So while it’s never easy to admit that you need to help to someone, almost always you will be glad that you did. The second you step into your truth, you can begin getting the help that you need.

And if the person is genuinely wrong? If you truly do not have a disorder? That’s alright. No one ever knows the full story. Kindly say to them that you really appreciate their concern but you are doing okay. Let them know that if you did have a problem, you would tell them. It’s easy to be mad at someone for “assuming” something about you but rather than get defensive, see their decision to reach out as an example of their love for you.

If you want to learn more about what you read here, I encourage you to learn more about the Name Your Story mental health curriculum. You’ll learn more about the signs/symptoms of various disorders, how to get help for you or a friend, and how to engage in regular self-care strategies. Remember, you are enough and you matter.

Keep shining,
Lauren Cook

To learn more about Lauren Cook and her programs, visit campuspeak.com/cook.

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Real Men Talk About Their Feelings…For Real http://www.campuspeak.com/realmentalkfeelings/ Thu, 25 Jan 2018 22:08:42 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26930 By Josh Rivedal Men are willing to talk about the size of their prostate glands, or how much Viagra they’re allowed to take, but they’re still not willing to be open about their mental health. If men want to live long, healthy and productive lives it’s absolutely crucial that the dialogue surrounding men’s mental health […]

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By Josh Rivedal

Men are willing to talk about the size of their prostate glands, or how much Viagra they’re allowed to take, but they’re still not willing to be open about their mental health.

If men want to live long, healthy and productive lives it’s absolutely crucial that the dialogue surrounding men’s mental health has to change.

I lost my father Douglas to suicide in 2009. Douglas lost his father Haakon to suicide in 1966. Each suffered from undiagnosed mental disorders and each suffered in silence because of the stigma surrounding men talking about and getting help for mental illness.

Haakon was dealing with post-traumatic stress after having been shot down in Hamburg, Germany, in 1941. Douglas may have been clinically depressed for a very long time, but my mother filing for divorce was a catalyst (not the cause) for his action in taking his own life.

In 2011, I had several catalysts for my own near-suicide attempt while in college: the dissolution of a relationship with a long-term girlfriend (similar to a divorce), a lack of work, and fallout from my mother’s betrayal. I was in terrible emotional pain and unknowingly suffering from clinical depression.

Standing at the ledge of a fourth floor window, I realized I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to end my inner torment. And I needed to break the familial cycle. So I came back inside, took a risk and asked for help by calling my mother.

Over the next few months I continued to take more risks. I called old friends to tell them I needed their support. I started talking to a therapist in my college’s counseling center. And no one ever told me I was crazy, stupid or a bad person. They told me they loved me and wanted to help me.

While recovering from clinical depression, I wanted to help other college students. So I started telling my story on colleges campuses all across the U.S. and Canada (175+ campuses to date). With it, I talk about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. Most of my audiences were and still continue to be women. One of the things I’ve found is that men have a difficult time talking about and getting help for their mental health or if they’re feeling suicidal. There seems to be some societal pressure that says “You’re not a true man if you don’t have it all together, all the time.”

But for men and for anyone else struggling I have a simple message that’s simple yet profound. There’s always hope and help out there for you. As a man, a college student, a son, a friend, a human-being who has suffered from clinical depression, I can say from personal experience that this is not a character flaw or a weakness. It doesn’t make you any less of anything—a man, woman, two-spirit superhero, whatever. In fact, by asking for help it makes you stronger. It gives you a fighting chance to improve your life and become the person you want to be. Reach out to your family and friends and ask for help. Nip it in the bud before it can turn into a crisis.

This world is a beautiful tapestry of individual threads made of more than seven billion beautiful people—all telling an incredible, breathtaking, painful, miraculous story. We need you because without your thread, the tapestry of the human race becomes frayed and dull.

To learn more about Josh Rivedal, and his program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/rivedal.

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The Kid From Atencingo http://www.campuspeak.com/the-kid-from-atencingo/ Thu, 25 Jan 2018 21:53:29 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26924 A few hours south of the United States, you’ll find a typical Mexican town. Although unassuming at first glance, it enchants you with the sound of roosters crowing in the early morning, and the chiming bells from the Catholic cathedral that echo across rolling hills. In Atencingo, caring for the land is a way of […]

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A few hours south of the United States, you’ll find a typical Mexican town. Although unassuming at first glance, it enchants you with the sound of roosters crowing in the early morning, and the chiming bells from the Catholic cathedral that echo across rolling hills. In Atencingo, caring for the land is a way of life. Every year, farmers work tirelessly to harvest and nurture the tiny town’s crown jewel: sugarcane. Today, the sound of a whistle announces the start of a new shift at El Ingenio, the local sugarcane mill.

Moments before sunrise, a father begins his trek to the center of town to begin work at El Ingenio. His clothes are stained with the deep rich color of molasses, and his boots are muddy and worn from endless days working in the fields. In one hand, he carries a colorful lunch box filled with warm tortillas, along with small bags of rice and beans, which he will enjoy in a few hours’ time. With his other hand, the man guides his young son out the door of their home, a humble house on the outskirts of town. After their daily two-hour walk, the man will begin work and his son will arrive at school. This walk is not unusual for those living in Atencingo, a community driven by hope and enamored with thoughts of education and opportunity.

The young man’s son is named Pescado, meaning “fish.” The apodo (nickname) was given to him by his peers at the local elementary school. I met Pescado in March 2009, when an itching curiosity drew me back to Atencingo for the first time in my adult life. Hearing stories of my mother’s homeland, I had been drawn to Atencingo since childhood. I often wondered, “Where is my mother from?” And over time, I began to ask myself, “Why did she leave her community?”

When I finally landed in Atencingo, I discovered a poverty-stricken school, where rickety desks and chairs stood, barely held together by splintered wooden fragments. Flickering lights were strung about the cracked ceiling and traces of crumbled cement fell from the walls. The sight was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, and it was then that I understood how the word “poverty” could be deceiving. Despite the school’s humble appearance, the bright faces of the young students beamed with an unwavering sense of pride. They clung tightly to the hope and opportunity that had been passed down by the generations before them that had sat in that same classroom. Even with a lack of school supplies and withering condition of their small building, 134 students glowed with a passion that outshined their circumstance.

To learn more about Saul’s service-learning work in Atencingo, and how his love for the students inspired the Walk of the Immigrants, a 5328-mile walk across Latin America, visit campuspeak.com/flores.

 

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Leaders Leave a Legacy http://www.campuspeak.com/leaders-leave-legacy/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 01:57:03 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26848

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We are at a pivotal time on college campuses when it comes to fraternities and sororities – my challenge to you is to think about what side of history you want to be on.  Do you want to look back on your leadership roles and wish you would have done more to confront our critical issues or do you want to look back knowing you did your absolute best to leave your chapter and campus community better than you found it?

At some point, you will walk across the stage and get a diploma – make sure that when you do, you can say to yourself that you did everything you could as a leader to make an impact.  And when you come back to campus in 5, 10 or 20 years, make sure you can still look back having that same sense of pride that you did your absolute best in your time as a student.

I recently had the opportunity to return to my alma mater and filmed the below video – I hope it helps you!

We all leave a legacy on campus…. What will yours be?

Are you looking for a great way to further develop the current and future leaders in your community? Would you like to train your leaders and have each of them develop a customized Personal Leadership Plan? Click HERE to learn more about “Limitless Leadership”, an interactive workshop that uses a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment to help student leaders learn how they are hard-wired as a leaders and then set specific actions for how they will thrive in their new role.

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Enjoy this Perfect Present http://www.campuspeak.com/perfect-present/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 23:55:25 +0000 http://www.campuspeak.com/?p=26768 Just recently I was in the midst of traveling to a speaking engagement during one of Mother Nature’s angriest times. Meaning nowhere in the US was safe from her cold hands. While I was trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B with canceled flights, blizzard conditions and eventually a […]

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Just recently I was in the midst of traveling to a speaking engagement during one of Mother Nature’s angriest times. Meaning nowhere in the US was safe from her cold hands. While I was trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B with canceled flights, blizzard conditions and eventually a canceled gig. I noticed…

I noticed a couple that appeared to be in their 70’s watching some movie that I could not make out on their laptop. I noticed a family of six laughing and singing songs in their native language and downloading movies for the flight. I saw a young couple playing cards. I heard the laughter of other patrons and I even got to witness a flight attendant argue with her boyfriend and the only reason I know that was her boyfriend, was because she looked at me and said “boyfriends are a waste of life”… I don’t think she meant that …. At least I hope she didn’t.

Nonetheless, the point of it all was that in the midst of my chaos I was still enjoying my perfect present. The gift of just being in the moment, enjoying the moment and finding the good in the moment. Yes, life will give us some huge, overwhelming crazy moments but it will also give us some amazing joys that we have to honor and take in during the “prefect present”.

As a strong leader, it is important to embrace this perfect present because it reminds us that everything is not horrible, as we often find ourselves saying when ONE thing goes wrong. We often lash out at our club/organization members and event administrative staff. During this time we do not listen to others and their possible suggestions/ideas. We miss out on the present by focusing on the wrong things. Trust me I was this person, I even had a grad school teacher name me “chicken little” because I would just panic in the crises and not see the entire moment.

Loving ourselves mean we are not stressing ourselves. As leaders we should look at situations, acknowledge the craziness, but then live in the moment of the people around us. Draw from their strength and sometimes calmness. Continue to engage in the moment, to draw from your own internal strength. That’s what I did as I sat in the airport, weighing my options. I fixed what I could, which was not much at all and enjoyed the perfect present.

Becoming internally stronger is even more important. We are in the day and age of the TV and Social Media. We only see negative or when we are online we hear and read the negative and we get caught up. But, I challenge you during 2018 to look up from the computer, phone, gaming system, and even the TV to enjoy the prefect present!

Enjoying the perfect present is essential to having that perfect love affair with yourself. When you enjoy more, your passion for life increases and that self love will deepen even further.

To learn more about Sara Lowery and her program offerings, visit campuspeak.com/lowery/.

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