Archive for the ‘Leadership Tip of the Day’ Category

All posts in Leadership Tip of the Day category.


July 29, 2015 | 8:51 pm

One of the things that amaze students and staff alike is how relationships can be made so very quickly. Whether it is a 10-day program or a 6-week summer, those that participate come away with friendships that are very often called: ”better than my friendships back home”. The key to lasting relationships, community and culture is contained within that sentence. It is those who participate, who invest, who are present with others that create community and relationships that last. It is convenient while you are on the same schedule with others, but it is not necessary. Relationships and community are based on shared experience and how a relationship or community survives, thrives, or declines will be based in the quality, variety and frequency of the shared experiences.

Thank you for an amazing summer. It has been a pleasure working, living, and leading with all of you.

– Bill Johnson, Leadership Facilitator

Make Every Day a Great One

July 26, 2015 | 4:48 pm

My greatest day is inevitable. I will have a greatest day in my life and so will you. As a relative comparison, each person on the planet has a greatest day. This is a cool thought, but my hope is that you want your greatest day to be truly a great day. For this to happen, your greatest day needs to beat out all of the other days you have had before it. So what happens if you begin to design your days to be better overall? Then your greatest day will have to improve as well! This is my suggestion:

Create a list of the 3-5 things that YOU have control over that would contribute to your better day. Keep it handy and throughout the day, check in with it.

Here’s what mine looks like:

o Have I shown love?

o Have I served others?

o Have I laughed?

o Have I listened?

o Did I give thanks?

Your list can be anything. I recommend that you focus your list on things that you can do. Keep the power over your day rather than basing it in someone or something else.

– Bill Johnson, Leadership Facilitator

A New Beginning

July 21, 2015 | 11:27 am

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”― Heraclitus

I am a math teacher. I have been for quite some time. At my first school, there were no resources. No teacher copy of the book, no overheads, nobody else who had taught my subject areas (Calculus and Algebra). I spent my first two years doing everything I could to simply survive. As I reenter the classroom this fall, 5 years later, I will still be teaching calculus and abgebra, but everything will have changed. I am not the person or teacher I was and my students are not the same either. The key is to approach my days with appreciation for those on the journey. The same is true at NSLC. Our staff is on their second or third session of the summer and all are ready to begin again, anew, and to approach each day with appreciation for those on the journey.

Welcome to the NSLC at Fordham University.

– Bill Johnson, Leadership Facilitator

Step Into It.

July 16, 2015 | 7:58 am

Once you wake up to your actions, then you have no more excuses.

Whether you are a person who criticizes, struggles with contempt, defensiveness, or stonewalling. The first step in growth is to recognize the tendency. Awareness will always precede growth and change. Each of these tendencies brings its own unique destructive capacity to relationships. In order for us to get past them, we must first address, then step into the fear to challenge it. Criticism requires objectivity, contempt requires deeper listening, defensiveness requires vulnerability, and stonewalling requires that we return to the topic with the parties involved.

– Bill Johnson, Leadership Facilitator

Join the Race

July 07, 2015 | 12:56 pm

“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
– Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running

I am a former collegiate runner, specializing in middle distance. I wasn’t an Olympian, or even an All-American, but running was something that I enjoyed. Afterwards I transitioned out of running and into working with leadership groups around the US and Canada. On this journey I found out that it was in the moments of risk, the moments of unknowing, and the moments of new adventure that I feel most alive. I experience a phenomenon similar to that of “runner’s high” and it has been an indicator that I am in a good place. The key to doing so involves putting myself on the line. It comes from acknowledging what I have done to get here, and then stepping further into a place where I am unfamiliar. That’s where my growth lies, and that is where I must go. It is not so much in the running of a race, but in how I “put myself on the line” which determines my end result.
As we begin another session of NSLC, I hope that you join this race, this journey with all of us. If you can “put yourself on the line” while here, I believe that your results will be very exciting.

– Bill Johnson, Leadership Facilitator

Inertia and Making a Difference

July 02, 2015 | 12:23 am

“This is not your practice life.” – AJ Leon

For the last 13 years of my life, I have worked at camps and conferences around North America with leaders from around the world. Toward the end of each, I seem to hear a similar set of conversations which all sound something like: “What will you do when you get back to the ‘Real World’? or “The first thing I do when I’m back in reality is…” I am confused by this because THIS moment IS THE REAL WORLD.

Every day that you are on this planet is the real world. Every day counts. What you do with it matters. Often times, inertia may have us think that we are stuck in a place. Inertia follows Newton’s First Law of Motion: “An object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an unbalanced force.” To me this means, that the person I am while here at the NSLC can be the person I am back home, it may just take an unbalanced force when I get there. I won’t say that it will be easy, but I can say that it will be worth it.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you have imagined.”
-Henry David Thoreau


June 27, 2015 | 9:47 am

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Communication is about more than just talking. It is both acting and reacting with your fellow communicators. Be it one, or 1,000, it is essential that you listen to your partners in the exchange. If you don’t, it’s simply a performance, a one-person show, with you on stage. Listen first, engage and re-engage with those you are speaking with and you will notice a difference in your communication and perhaps, your relationships.

– Bill Johnson, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

Look Up, Lean Into it, and Keep the Form

June 23, 2015 | 10:33 am

The Summer I turned 22, I interned for the North Dakota Extension Service working mainly with ND 4-H Camps in Washburn, ND. My primary responsibility as an intern was to assess and offer sustainable alternatives to how the property was being managed. To do so required me to immerse myself at camp.

What’s interesting about Washburn, ND is that it is home to one of the last high dive boards in the state. Once or twice per week, the whole camp would travel to this pool for an afternoon of fun. My first time that summer, as I walked onto the pool deck, I saw children performing back-flips and other acrobatics off the high dive. I immediately knew my challenge for the day: Learn how and execute a back-flip from the high dive.

I made my way to the diving side of the pool and asked a young swimmer named Jake what it takes to back-flip off the big board. He replied nonchalantly: “Oh! That? You just back-flip!” I was amused with the lack of instruction, so I helped him to break it down.

Me: “Jake, what’s the very first thing you do when on the board and about to back-flip?”

Jake: “Look up.”

Me: “Okay, once I’m looking up, what comes next?”

Jake: “Lean back.”

Me: “Good, what’s the last part?”

Jake: “Keep going.”

Me: “Is that all?”

Jake: “Yes!”

I made my way nervously to the board, looked up, leaned back, and promptly freaked out once I was mid-air, resulting in a backward belly-flop. It was painful, and when I exited the pool, Jake was there saying: “You didn’t keep going! You have to keep going or else it’s always like that!” After two more tries, I finally did it! I back-flipped off of the high dive!

As I start my 4th summer with NSLC, I believe that those words still apply to my life and apply to you as well. Look up, lean into it, and keep going. Look up to the new opportunities that you have through the field trips, academics, relationships, and leadership series that are along this path. Take advantage and lean into each of those areas when you are there. Be as present as possible so that you can fully experience each piece, and keep going. Some of you will be learning and leading together for the first time away from home, the first time on a plane, or perhaps you are a seasoned travel veteran. In all cases, we come to these 10 days with something to offer and something to learn. I’m excited to work with all of you.

Look up, lean into it, and keep going.


– Bill Johnson, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

A Source of Happiness

July 31, 2014 | 11:31 am

During What I’ve Discovered many of you shared how everyone in your NSLC program was so kind, friendly and giving and how that realization was so surprising or empowering or both… it was a source of happiness for you and contributed to making your NSLC experience that much more fulfilling. Some of you also stated that your environments back at school or within your communities are different suggesting that the idea of going back to your daily life and normal routines evoked some sadness. Perhaps there is another way to see this. As we explored in Conflict Resolution, our experiences are born out of our interpretations of events and circumstances, not the events or circumstances themselves. Consider that your happiness is not so much a function of others kindness towards you but rather your kindness towards others, especially when they have done nothing to deserve it. Your true potential as a leader can only be fully realized when the circumstances around you are inconvenient or difficult… when others around you are being selfish instead of kind. When you go back home, you cannot expect anyone in your world to be different, but you can choose to be different yourself. And when you do, the windows of possibility will open for you like never before. Bloom where you are planted.


– Jay Caputo, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

Four Choices

July 27, 2014 | 9:25 pm

In every situation that involves relating to another person, you have one of four fundamental choices available to you… win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose and win/win. Though each of these has value within a particular context, many people unconsciously choose from a belief that living in the world is a zero-sum game in which limited resources forces us to fight for our “share.” This causes people to make choices that have a potential short-term gain yet results in much greater long-term detrimental consequences. Genuine leadership on the other hand, must sometimes allow for short-term failure in order that the greater good eventually be realized, with patience, creativity and passion. If you want to lead, you must always be willing to recognize these four choices in your daily life and honestly reconcile how your choices are affecting your most important relationships.

– Jay Caputo, NSLC Leadership Facilitator