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Pages tagged "Diane Tran"


Living into the answers

“Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rilke

At Minnesota Rising, our mission is to build trust, relationships, and a shared vision for the future of Minnesota, while developing the collective capacity of the rising generation to lead collaboratively. Just how we do this has evolved over time, as we continue to inquire into and assess our strategic intent and impact. For those nonprofiteers who also value emergent learning and developmental evaluation, we offer a couple of our questions and answers.

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Noticing now: Musings on mindfulness

main.jpgI firmly believe we are new in every moment. We have never lived this long in these bodies, with these lives, on this earth, with the myriad and cumulative experiences we have had prior to this second. Or this one. Or the next.

What a thing to behold. And yet, in our fast-paced, externally-focused culture, it is something we are rarely trained or encouraged to regularly behold. Especially for young nonprofiteers, pouring so much of not only our heads but also our hearts into our work, it is essential to find ways to pause, reflect, and nurture our individual human capacity and the resulting resources we seek to share with our communities.  

So if we are to act based on identity-driven leadership and in accordance with our mind, body, and spirit, how might we invest in and cultivate these instincts and wisdom? The answer to our modern-day challenge, fortunately, is timeless and old as the ages: to practice.

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You, among the universal

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Quotations enthrall me. The pithiness of the statements. The motivational, instructive, and validating natures of the strings of words. The sense that the somebody quoted is somehow larger than life, made infinite by their sustaining message that was gloriously earned the hard way. There is a timelessness to this stated wisdom, and we are reminded that our human experience isn’t quite so different from what others before us saw, learned, and shared in the course of their journeys around the sun. 

What endlessly fascinates me is how quotes are, in precisely the same moment, universal (in that they evoke a sense of shared resonance for myriad people across time and space) and unique (they spark something entirely different and specific to each person based on their life experiences and circumstances). Much like a river, I’d wager that no one experiences a quote in exactly the same way.

To test out my theory, I’ll share a couple of quotes about leadership below from which I have drawn inspiration and insight, and you let me know in the comments how you experienced the quote and the particulars of how it resembles your life. Here goes!

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Identity-driven leadership: Who I am is how I lead

main.jpgThink of a leader you admire. Do you appreciate their ability to share thoughtful insights based on their experiences and perspectives? To listen with openness and the intent to truly understand? To develop ideas and solutions relying on their instincts and intuition? To be motivated by their personal passions and own visions of what’s possible? To be truly and consistently themselves in whatever settings they find themselves?

That leader you’re thinking of – is it you?

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Hello to Good-bye (A Treatise on Transitions)

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ― Lao Tzu

Emergence as evolution

As the founder of Minnesota Rising, a generationally-based group, I’m often asked about the point at which our Millennial generation will no longer be referred to as “emerging,” but instead could be considered “emerged.” While there will be a point in time at which, as individuals and as a cohort, we could be said to have moved on from the “emerging leader” moniker, that is not to refute that our journey and learning is lifelong and thus we will always be emerging into the next experience. For this reason, it will be increasingly valuable to have a sustaining generational cohort to help us mark, grieve, and celebrate transitions, and with whom we will be able to note our progress as individuals and as a group.

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Built to Adapt

main.jpgHosted on November 16, 2013, the Minnesota Rising 2013 Un/Conference: Cultivating Capacity for Collective Leadership was a great success by the numbers, featuring 125 attendees, 14 breakout sessions (including 4 Open Space sessions generated that morning), 9 sponsors, and 27 Network Partners. 

Workshop topics spanned the art of facilitating conversations that matter, low-cost or no-cost spatial analysis and mapping tools, building networks and careers through peer mentoring, and philanthropy trends for the rising generation. The agenda was jam-packed and fast-paced, and, per the evaluation comments, sparked innumerable connections, newly highlighted incredible organizations and opportunities, and prompted lots of fun and merriment!

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Failing into the future

Think of someone you greatly admire or consider a hero. While ruminating about their secrets for success, have you ever also considered how much they may have failed to get to where they are? While that may not be the first question that springs to mind, when you’re curious about how they accomplished certain heroic feats, doesn’t that consideration make them seem more human and relatable, once you know that they’ve also struggled and overcome obstacles along the way?

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The most important election of our lifetime?

main.jpgThe turn of phrase in the title of this piece comes as regularly as election cycles, but was this last election really the most important in our lifetime? Youth voter turnout, while high, was not record-setting in 2012; and although much has been made of older Americans lamenting the low civic engagement and voting patterns of Millennials, it turns out that today’s youth are voting at the same rate the Baby Boomers did when they were our age. Clichéd expression and middling benchmarks aside, here are three key observations from the recent election that reflect the transformation of the rising generation’s role in politics and change-making.

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Conversations That Count: Appreciative Inquiry and Cascading Conversations

main.jpgOne of my favorite theoretical concepts is that of linguistic determinism, or the idea that language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought. Our classic Minnesota example is the various types of precipitation we encounter in the winter. We are able to refer to the white stuff as slush, wintry mix, and sleet -- whereas others in warmer climates might only be able to name it snow. 

The idea that we can only understand the purposes or capacities of things insofar as we have been introduced to them should urge us to dream up new ways to relate to and interact with everything around us. It matters not only to our ability to repurpose vases as drinkware when the rest of the dirty cups are in the sink, but also to the creativity and vision we can have for our lives and the communities we call home.

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Give it Some Gusto: Nuance in Word and Action

main.jpg"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
-Author Unknown

I once spoke with Eric Hoffberg—business and life coach—about his philosophy of intentionally coloring speech with nuance. He explained that providing detailed information, creating context, and explicitly relaying the subtler points in conversation make for a richer dialogue and deeper communication. 

Wiktionary defines something nuanced as “possessed of multiple layers of detail, pattern, or meaning.” While I agree wholeheartedly with Eric’s attitude, I would suggest that words are only the start to living more intentionally and with nuance. Words are powerful, but even more critical are the actions that ultimately result from thought and speech. 

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