Your BREAK THROUGH, Vol. 1, Post 35 (reprise, originally written in Summer 2014)

Last spring, as part of the mini-series on the Artist’s Wheel, I posed questions about how our energy increases our effectiveness. This idea is fresh on my mind after seeing the exuberant energy of the 75 college student leaders I worked with this past weekend.

Sure, school has yet to start, senior-idus is a ways off, and final exams are nowhere on the horizon. Maybe I worked with them on the right day, in the right context. But for seven hours of training, panels, and workshops, I was astounded by their engagement with the material, their willingness to listen, and their enthusiasm to stay with me until the culmination of the day.

I’ll avoid the patronizing observation that this is often the way of ‘youth,’ … that they haven’t all been bombarded with the stresses and pains of ‘adulthood.’ I don’t really think that being 20 is any easier than being 30; each stage of life comes with its own complex challenges to negotiate. I suppose both ages might be easier than being 40, but I’ll get back to you on that in a few years.

I also don’t think their energy comes from a lack of being jaded. Most of them were at the very formative age of 7 when their world got flipped on its head by 9/11.  They’ve seen a major economic recession, and witnessed as much violence, wars, isms, and political polarization in their lifetime as is ‘necessary’ to the human experience.

So then, where does their energy come from? They have a really incredible year in the works on their campus: enriching classes, amazing speakers, inspiring and entertaining events … a lot to look forward to. From this ‘looking forward,’ arises a ruthless optimism that is pertinent to our energy and the human condition.

This group of my new colleagues reminded me of the critically important practice of enjoying the moment at-hand while also looking forward with excitement and eagerness to the moments ahead. It is not a practice free of struggle, but it is certainly one source for the energy we need.