I'm still fully immersed in my "Leadership" conference. At one point they asked how many of us would have ever imagined being at a "Leadership" course 5 years ago. I'm such a spaz, I couldn't have imagined it 2 months ago.
So far I love the whole experience and think the people I've met are amazing. Who knew we had offices in Israel, Belgium and Poland? I sat next to the Israeli rep at dinner. She's such a cool woman. There are about 10 languages being spoken at our tables and I love it!
So much of what we talk about all day is beyond esoteric so I feel really bad for the out-of-towners, who are still learning English. They must be so frustrated. We try to slow the speakers down and help the foreigners at our table with certain words, but still, it can't be easy for them.
They had us focus on one of our "key strengths" then take some clay and sculpt something to represent that strength or "genius". I apparently think quite highly of myself because I immediately knew my genius. I sculpted (and I use the word loosely) a bunch of balloons to symbolize levity. It's were I go when things get tense. I also use humor and levity to make a difficult point. It works for me and I've been aware of it since I was about 3 years old.
It was a surprisingly emotional exercise for many. Some people cried and they broke my heart. One gentleman from China sculpted a disc with his thumb print pressed in it and set it before an open door labeled "U.S.". He explained that he had to have his thumb print scanned at customs before he was allowed walk through the doors of America earlier in the week. He said his strength is being here in the first place and next going back through the door to share this opportunity and experience with his friends back home. How cool is that? Once again, I'm in the enviable position of taking my country for granted. It must be an overwhelming thing to not only come here from China to an English speaking leadership course, but to attend one set in the middle of a damn theme park. His head must be ready to explode.
I truly empathize with the participants from Asia Pacific. It's so against their culture to open themselves up, especially in such a public forum. I really admire them because they're hanging in there but it's SO difficult for them. I watched one woman wipe away tears as she prepared to step up and explain her genius/sculpture. It's just not something they do. Well, nobody really takes time to focus on their strengths, but it's downright taboo in her country. It was not only difficult because she was a shy person, but I don't think her strengths had ever been pointed out to her. I really don't think she'd ever allowed herself to think about what she was good at in a non-measurable sense. The whole "positive self reflection" thing was almost too much for her.
We've got more introspection tomorrow. I hope everyone is ok.
Oh, the premiere next door wasn't so bad. There were apparently screaming kids camped out since yesterday afternoon but I never saw them. I did see a young starlet walk by and thought she looked a bit haughty. Then again, how does one look humble in a designer gown with 10 handlers swarming around you as you cross a hallway? The only other sign something was up was the fact that we weren't allowed up to our rooms without flashing our room keys. I guess there are lots of little stalkers running around tonight. I'm off to find my earplugs. I anticipate lots of tween girls running up and down the halls tonight.