Leadership Inspirations Activities
Recognize the impact that our valued people/things/activities/abilities have on our lives
Type Of Activity
Experiential Activity, Bonding Activity
Index cards or slips of paper (4 different colors), pens or pencils
- Each participant will need 16 index cards or slips of paper – four each of the 4 different colors.
- Safety: Please keep in mind that this may be an emotionally difficult and draining exercise for some participants. It is important to preface that this is an emotional activity before you begin and give participants the freedom to remove themselves from the activity at any point in time. For participants recently experiencing a loss or trauma of some kind in their lives, this can be incredibly challenging and dangerous exercise. The goal as a facilitator is not to dwell on loss or to make participants feel vulnerable but rather to allow them to more clearly reflect on how these things are an important part of them and their lives.
- Give participants time to complete each of the following steps on their index cards:
- On the first colored paper, have participants write the 4 most important/significant people in their lives
- On the 2nd color – write the 4 most important material things in their lives
- On the 3rd color – write the 4 most important activities in their lives
- On the 4th color – write the 4 most important abilities they have
- It is important that participants do this part of the activity in silence
- After participants make their 4 lists, ask them to silently reflect on how each of the items makes them who they are.
- If you have time or feel like your group would like to share, you may choose to have participants share their lists with a partner or in small groups.
- Have participants place the 4 groups of paper in front of them so they can see all 16 items.
- It may be helpful to bring the energy in the room down by taking a deep breath all together before going into the next part of the activity.
- Now, ask the participants to assume that there has been an accident and they have lost one of each category, and ask that they select one item from each category and set it aside as though they no longer have this in their lives. This choice may be very difficult. Once they have made a decision they cannot change their minds.
- Then, ask the participants to assume that there has been a catastrophic event, and this time they have no control over the outcome. Facilitators will take one paper from each category without looking (this may take a while for large groups so if possible ask a co-facilitator for help).
- Lastly, tell participants that they must choose to remove one more item from each category so they will have only card from each group left. This last step may be very difficult for participants. Give the group a time limit if necessary.
- Have participants review their remaining slips of paper and reflect on what they have left and how their losses would change who they are.
- You must give your group time to process this activity through discussion. Here are some suggested questions:
- How was that process for you?
- How did you decide what cards to “get rid of”?
- How do you feel about what you have left?
- How would these “losses” affect who you are?
- How important are all those things to you in achieving your dreams? Do they help or hinder you, and in what ways?
- What did this activity teach you about yourself? About the other people in the room?
- What do we want to do differently moving forward after these realizations?
- At the end of your discussion, make it clear to participants that they don’t really have to make those difficult choices. Give back their slips of paper so that they can see everything in their life together again.
- Facilitator Note: Make sure to check in with individual participants who may have had a particularly difficult time with this activity.
- You can make the categories anything you would like to explore with your group: 4 values, 4 roles, etc.
- At the end of the activity, have participants draw their life with everything back in it as a way to celebrate what they have.
- At the end of the activity, have participants pool all of their slips of paper together. Have them take one of each colored slip of paper from the pile that is not their own so that they can recognize and appreciate that that person/thing/ability/activity is important to someone else in the room.
SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS
- What was the goal of this activity?
- Did your group do well? What could have improved?
- How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
- How did your group manage conflict that arose?
- Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
- How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
- Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.?
- What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
- What motivates our group?
- How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Inclusion & Involvement
- What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
- What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
- Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?
- What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
- What’s one commitment each person can make?
- What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
- How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
- What can you do differently moving forward?