Author Archives: HeatherJane

Motivational Monday: Notes on the Blackboard

Written by HeatherHave you been up to the Student Life department lately? The contributors of The Leadership Office spend a lot of time on the third floor of the UC, and one of my personal favourite things about the department is the blackboard that sits behind the front desk. This board is always decorated with an inspirational quote, and I’d like to share this past week’s quote with you for Motivational Monday.

I recent quote on the student life blackboard, 'The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling..." -Fabienne Fredrickson

A recent quote on the student life blackboard, ‘The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling…” -Fabienne Fredrickson

So there you have it. Thank you to the wonderful people in the Student Life department who help students like myself discover and cultivate their passions!


Whiteboard Wednesday: Happy Thoughts

Written by HeatherI am a firm believer that your attitude towards your life translates directly into the results that you see. If you are holding anger and frustration throughout the day, you will undoubtedly find more things that will dampen your mood. Conversely, when you walk out of your house in the morning with a positive outlook, you’ll find all the more things to be happy about as you move about your day. It’s mind over matter.

Obviously this mentality is often easier said than done. The amount of things that can go wrong, or at least not go quite the way you want them to before you even get to work or school can really set you off on the wrong foot. Maybe you spilled your morning coffee. Maybe your housemate forgot to do their dishes the night before. Maybe your favourite shirt didn’t make it into the laundry this week. Maybe all of this happened on top of a fight with your parents last night and a midterm this morning. I get it, life can be hard a lot of the time, and sometimes you just don’t want to work at feeling positive. It is on days like this that we most appreciate the people who bring us up.

"I am a leader because... I see positivity in everyone & everywhere I go!!"

“I am a leader because… I see positivity in everyone & everywhere I go!!”

"I am a leader because... I like to spread enthusiasm!"

“I am a leader because… I like to spread enthusiasm!”

During our most recent Whiteboard Wednesday event we asked students what they did to be a leader. Several of the answers that we received centered on keeping a positive attitude and spreading enthusiasm. I cannot express enough the appreciation that I feel for the people in my own life who fill this role. These natural cheerleaders have an innate ability to bring others up when they’re down, to remind us that things are probably not as bad as they seem, all while validating our feelings and helping us to move forward. Their enthusiasm helps us to accomplish our goals despite the setbacks. They help to put things in perspective. These types of leaders are important because they are less concerned with the final product, and put more weight in the way we feel as we work towards our objectives.

And so, to all of those who lead with their enthusiastic attitudes, thank you. Thank you for your support, for your words of encouragement, and for your supply of positivity that feels like sunshine. Thank you for bringing your happiness, especially on the days where the rest of us are struggling. We appreciate you. Keep on leading!

Think happy thoughts.  Source: Pinterest

Think happy thoughts. Source: Pinterest

Motivational Monday: Oops

Written by HeatherThis Motivational Monday, I’d like to ask you about your mistakes.  When is the last time that you messed up? What about the last time that you admitted to messing up?

Sometimes the things that we set out to do don’t turn out as planned. Sometimes we can say Oops and move on, other times all that is needed is a band aid and some time to fix things up, and on occasion we have to look at what has happened and admit that it has not worked. This can be incredibly difficult. However, this week I’d like to urge you to look at mistakes not as failures, but instead as opportunities to rebuild. Try not to get discouraged when your plans are not as linear as you had hoped. We all make mistakes. The important thing is that we continue to feel OK with making them every once in a while.

Now go on and turn your Oops into opportunities!

Image of a road with overlaying text that says, "Avoiding failure is to avoid progress."

“Avoiding Failure is to avoid progress” Image by Jeremy Vessey

Whiteboard Wednesday : Fostering Togetherness

Whiteboard Wednesday is a biweekly segment that explores how the U of G community thinks about leadership. We go out, ask a question, and then photograph the wide range of answers you all come up with! We then create posts diving into some of the major themes that appear.  This post will be exploring the question "Why are you a leader?"

Written by HeatherLet’s talk about community. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘community’ as follows:

  1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  2. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
  3. A group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.

This blog post is going to focus on definition 2, which portrays community as an emotional phenomenon, rather than a physical or biological one.

When we talk about community, we often associate it with the feeling of belonging. Belonging is a powerful thing; most of us are probably able to think of a time in which we did not feel as though we belonged. In these times we experience feelings of isolation, discomfort and self-doubt. Feelings like these are not conducive to creativity or advancement. In fact, they often make us shut down.

A sense of belonging, on the other hand, can make us feel comfortable, supported, and safe. It makes us feel strong. And when we feel strong and supported, we find the courage to make change and pursue our dreams. We can get creative and take risks without such a great fear of failing, because we know that if we do, someone will be there to help pick us back up. This is why building community is so important.

Student holding a sign that reads "I am a leader because... I love to bring people together"

“I am a leader because… I love to bring people together”


If we look back at that second definition of community, we see that it is built from common ground. Community members may have vastly different backgrounds or experiences, but there is something present between individuals that has created a sense of togetherness.

Sometimes togetherness happens organically. Think of those moments when you have met someone that you have clicked with right away. Finding that kind of commonality right from the start is exciting and beautiful, but it is also rare, especially when we’re trying to create connections in a larger group. This is where it becomes important to have leaders who are committed to fostering togetherness. In order to build strong communities, ones that are dynamic and resilient, people who are willing to work towards finding and creating commonalities must step forward. These leaders create opportunities for community members to learn and grow side by side, while always celebrating the diversity of everyone involved. A mix of viewpoints and experiences allow for greater creative capacity, as well as more innovative solutions.

Student holds a sign that reads "I am a leader because... I value developing togetherness"

“I am a leader because… I value developing togetherness”

To all of the leaders who value developing togetherness, we thank you. You are the ones who transform the places that we live into the places where we belong. You make us feel welcomed and safe. You provide us with the spaces to form those meaningful connections without which life would be drab and lonely. Togetherness builders, we need you.

Image that says "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Source: Pinterest

Motivational Monday: Just Do it!

Written by Heather

Hello there!

Here are a few wise words to help to motivate those Gryphons moving into their last week of exams in the Fall 2014 semester! You’re almost there folks, keep up the hard work!

"The most effective way to do it is to do it." - Amelia Earhart (Source: Pinterest)

“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart (Source: Pinterest)

What is Whiteboard Wednesday?

Written by Heather

‘Introducing Heather’ tab

Hi folks!

Almost a month ago the peers from The Leadership Office headed out to the UC courtyard to ask the University of Guelph community “Why are you a leader?” This was a part of one of our Whiteboard Wednesday events that we run every semester. The responses that we got, phrased as “I am a leader because…” were introspective, funny, honest, and interesting! And as much as we love the photo-taking process, what comes next is just as fun!

While you may have seen your photos on our Facebook page (link), we like to use them for our blog content as well. Check in over the next semester to read some of the insights that have sprung from your responses. Each response that we got presented a great message, so we’ll dive right in to share our thoughts with you!

The Leadership Office Presents... I am a leader because!

The Leadership Office Presents… I am a leader because!

So, make sure to check in with us next semester for our Whiteboard Wednesday section! While you’re waiting, you can check out our archives (link) for some of the topics that we’ve explored in the past.