Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leadership with Open Eyes

Today was the Motar Board Leadership Conference, or MBLC. First off, I'd like to make a confession, as I have never actually attended it before and this was my first time and I was working it. Anyways, it was great!

I was one of the speaker hosts for Dr. Paul Robinson who is a joint professor in both the Engineering College and the School of Veterinary Medicine here at Purdue. His topic was about setting goals and then how to achieve them. He was a great speaker with an awesome Australian accent, which was sweet and reminded me of my Australian friends I made in Ireland.

But here is where the title of my blog comes into play. Originally, Robinson spoke of an initial goal or 'task' that he was confident he could accomplish - creating a low-tech, low-cost diagnostic technology for HIV/AIDS testing in Africa. Half of the problem is detection. He talked about how he pounded away at it for over a year with not much success, so he sat back and reevaluated and decided to climb Mt. Everest instead, as in 20,930ish meters high, ya, that Mt. Everest, to raise awareness of his original goal.

He had great tips on persevering, taking it one step at a time, relying on your team and learning from your failures. But what I saw in him personally at the end of his talk and being able to have some one-on-one time with him was his overall attitude and charisma. Now, I did not know Paul before he climbed the mountain, but he even confessed to being a different person after climbing the mountain. And that overall joy and exuberance just flooded out of him. And now he has returned to his original task with a different mindset about it.

Now, I didn't climb Mt. Everest, but I really see this past year as my 'Everest.' I have come back a much more relaxed and confident person. Recognizing and relying in my capabilities in order to get a task done and just to live my life in a better way on a day to day basis.

At the afternoon closing session Keith Krach spoke, who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Purdue University. You have to google this guy! His accomplishments in the business world are ridiculous! He was an amazing speaker, my favorite of the day. There were three keys that I took away from his talk and the first was the fact that he placed values right underneath vision when developing yourself and your leadership characteristics and goals. The second point that I liked in his talk was that he described his father as the best leader that he has ever known because he was someone that everybody liked to be around. Lastly, he talked about his junior high basketball days when trying to figure out why his teammate always had more points than him. After watching game footage, he realized it was what his teammate was doing when he didn't have the ball that put him in great position to be successful. What are you doing when you don't have the ball?

So between these two speakers, I got some great advice about leadership and really just how to live my own personal life. Even though the day started out early for me, I managed to keep my eyes open and now have a slightly different perspective on what leadership is and how I can apply that to my life.

I hope y'all are having a great weekend and that my friends down in Texas are staying safe and warm with all of the snow y'all have down there :)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Keys- not where they're supposed to be!

Two weeks of classes are almost in the books for me. Sorry for not being more consistent on here, my computer decided to crap out on me and I have now had my hard drive wiped 3 TIMES! Not a happy camper with the whole Purdue/ HP situation. Good news is that I'm starting to shop for a new laptop! I'm getting mixed reviews on what to get though- so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Classes are great! I really like them this semester- even the one that I thought was going to be annoying, AGR 201 "Communicating Across Cultures." I don't know, I was under the impression that after taking ag classes in a foreign country for a semester would cover all the 'diversity' experience that I would need for my degree. But apparently not. On the bright side, talking about issues such as gender, race, sexual preferences, religion and disabilities with a bunch of Indiana farm kids and a confident African-American professor will offer some amusement at least twice a week.

Other classes are my 3 communications classes. Advanced Public Speaking (which I just gave my first speech, felt really good about it!), Writing for the Mass Media and Communication Theory. I have to actually 'read' the AP Style book and take quizzes over it. Seriously it is like trying to read the dictionary!

Then come my last two classes- an ag econ management class and horse evaluation. It's hard to say that these are my favorites, but anytime I feel like I don't have to study for a quiz and still do a good job on it- I like that class, which is what happened in my horse class yesterday over the parts of the horse. I really like my professor for the management class. I admire him for his witness as he started the very first day of class telling us a little bit about himself, his first words were, "I'm a Christian and if you are looking for a good Christian home/ home church here in Lafayette, I can help you find one." How awesome is that?

So my biggest 'oops' I've had in awhile is locking my keys in the car last night. Some friends and I went out to the Cactus and I was the DD. I didn't want to carry in a purse, so I took my car keys off the rest of my keys and put my money, ID's and phone in my pockets when I went in. After I dropped everyone off, I was reassembling everything and grabbed my lanyard thinking I had just grabbed all my keys and locked the car with the door lock like I always do. I got to the top of the stairs, thought that my key chain was a little thin and realized what I had just done, but didn't want to do anything about it cuz it was late. Spare set you ask? Ya, in the armrest of my car. I know, not a very smart place to put it, but with all of my moves and such, they just never made it to an actual usable location. So looks like I'm calling AAA later today or hitching a ride home with someone tonight or tomorrow, as those were my weekend plans. Ben and Eva are coming up, so it'll be nice to have everyone together. Now let's just hope that I can get there :)


Friday, January 15, 2010


So a quick update that is much overdue again- sorry. Didn't know if y'all would still be interested in my life now that I'm just a college kid back at school.

I got everything moved back to Purdue safe and sound and before the big snow hit last week. Campus is absolutely beautiful with all of the snow! Sad to say that it is slowly melting away which creates slush and puddles to be avoided while walking to classes.

My apartment: I LOVE IT!!! Lots of room and my roomie is super cool. Good location, reasonable rent- can't ask for much more :)
Wesley: Awesome seeing all the old friends and meeting the newbies- I can't believe how much Wesley has changed and grown :)
Classes: Actually ROCK! I'm taking 3 COM classes- Advanced public speaking, writing for the mass media and communication theory. Then for my Ag classes I have an Agribusiness management class with a way cool prof, multicultural understanding (lame considering I've spent four months in another country) and horse evaluation! So, yes, it's going to be a difficult semester- I'm loving it so far :)

You'll notice the use of a lot of smiley faces- well that's because I'm super happy! There are a lot of awesome things going on around campus and in my life and God has started to make some things more clear for me. But man, am I tired! This whole going to class thing and working out is exhausting stuff! My sister-in-law, Eva, wants me to run a half marathon with her in Louisville in April, so that's my new challenge to shoot for. Plus buying new clothes after you loose weight is way fun!

Mom is here for part of the day. She came over for the Wesley Board meeting last night and stayed the night. I have class until 11:30, then we're going out to lunch and grocery shopping and then saying goodbye. It's nice having her around, I just felt bad because we were both soooo tired last night and I had reading to do for speech class about how to be a good listener! Yay, I feel like I'm back in 3rd grade! But I got a 5 out of 5 on my quiz- so worth it I suppose!

I have a feeling that there will be some good blogging material that comes out of my "Communicating Across Cultures" class. Imagine a bunch of conservative, Indiana, farm kids talking about issues such as race, religion, gender and sexual identity issues. Should be somewhat amusing at least. I already asked a guy to prove the statement "Males are biologically better leaders than females," after he agreed with the statement that the teacher gave out as a possible "trigger phrase." It was all light-hearted, fun- but I'm not afraid to throw what little weight I have in there :)

Alright... time to find my classroom for my last class of the day then I'm hanging with my mommio! :)

Boiler Up!