Sunday, January 01, 2006

Motivated about motivation. . .

New Year's in Dubai was different than any I've ever had before, and I must say there is part of me which misses football more than expected. But, Iowa State lost so perhaps I've only missed some frustration :-P

After a fantastic New Year's Eve in Dubai's Irish Village, a relaxing day at the beach and time at the Global Village, it's time to return our focus to our mission and goals fo our trip.

Each of us has certain sections of training which we lead, and I didn't have any of my major presentations/activities during our fist day of introductions and sharing. Tomorrow, however, I will lead sections about leadership styles and motivation which are the two that I'm looking forward to most.

Coming into our training I had some perceptions of what the women at Dubai would be like and what many of their leadership styles to be. However, our first day of training quickly illustrated that these perceptions were misconceptions on my part.

Each of these women are so dynamic and unique; they will have their own struggles, strengths and weaknesses in finding and utilizing their respective leadership skills. Whether they be an outspoken and inspirational model for their peers or if they are a more softspoken woman who has an amazing ability to help enable others to realize their own potential; whether their largest obstacles to becoming a better leader are their own self-confidence or the restraints of their role in the family and society, I believe this diversity is a strength of this passionate and bold group of women.

I believe this because I've come to learn that this is what has made SGA, particularily our executive board, very successful in the past two years. In understanding our differences in styles and skills we can accomplish many tasks so efficiently and learn from one another enormously. Listening to Molly share her story of leadership and sharing my own story of growth allowed for me to reflect upon how both of our experiences at Mount Holyoke have helped us grow as leaders together but in completely different ways and along different paths, and in doing so we have come to compliment one another well, make an amazing team and have a unique friendship. I hope that the Women in Dubai can begin to learn and grow together as leaders like Molly and I have over the past 3 and a half years.

Finally, I'm looking forward to the motivation part of tomorrow. When we asked the women what obstacles they felt stood in their way to becoming leaders they first said, "Men. Society. Religion." Wow. Obviously, these are not topics which we will be able to help them overcome in four days, but what spoke to me most during this conversation were the women's desires to make progress--their enthusiasm, brave statements, strength and passion. They have such desire, and when we discussed how to overcome these obstacles, perservence came up. Since English is a second language to many of these women, many didn't know this word. I anticipate that it will be a challenge for these women to face so many struggles again and again when they exercise their leadership skills. As I am reflecting upon speaking about motivation tomorrow, I hope I can help them to find a way to always remember what that special thing is for each of them that will keep them going in the face of adversity, stress and challenges. And how to keep their peers motivated and be catalyst for the initiatives and changes they decide to tackle. After only our first day, I am already confident that they are capable.


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