Category Archives: Whiteboard Wednesday

White Board Wednesday: Find your PASSION

Written by Poojitha

Happy Wednesday folks, today’s theme for our white board Wednesday is passion. I am sure all of us have an idea of what passion means however there are many of us who lack it in the work we do. As Oprah Winfrey said “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”. To some individuals passion in their work comes naturally and to others it may be something they have to develop overtime. In either case, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have passion because true happiness comes from doing the work you are passionate about.

I am passionate about the work I do

I am passionate about the work I do

To be passionate is to be authentic to yourself and when you do something that you love you get loads of energy. It sometimes surprises me of how many people there are out there who remain dissatisfied with their jobs. They hold no passion in what they do but they simply have to do it to earn money. Can you imagine waking up every morning and having to go to work which you absolutely loathe? By the time you come home from work not only are you tired but also unsatisfied because you haven’t done anything which makes you happy. On the other hand if you have a job which you cherish, then imagine how different your life would be? Doing something that you are passionate about makes you jump out of bed and look forward to the day ahead. In this case, what you do makes you energized, excited and motivated rather than leaving you tired and unhappy.

I love teaching others!

I love teaching others!

Passion not only makes your day-to-day more rewarding but it also builds inspiration, courage and confidence within you to do great things. It opens up the doors to a wide range of opportunities and brings excitement to one’s life. When you are passionate you are continuously striving to do more and learn more to reach your full potential. In addition, having a passion also benefits people around you as you spread your positive vibes and inspiration among them.

I believe in inspiring others to make positive change.

I believe in inspiring others to make positive change.

On an end note, realizing your true passion may or may not always be obvious. To some people realizing their passion comes easily and to others it may be something that they have to develop or scavenge to find. Whatever the case might be, it is important that one takes the time to realize their true passion. To those who are trying to find their passion, below are a few tips to get you thinking:

1. Find what you are good at
What are your talents, gifts or skills? What do you enjoy doing? Are there certain qualities for which people repeatedly acclaim you?

2. Find what excites you
Is there a hobby, job or volunteering position that excites you? Is there a part of your job that excites you?

3. What do you spend hours reading about?
This is probably the best predictor of you passion. Think about a list of things which you always crave to know more about and spend hours for this purpose.

Brainstorm a list of ideas for the above three aspects and see if there are any qualities of yours which overlap in all three aspects.

"And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, Keep Looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.

“And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, Keep Looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.


Whiteboard Wednesday: Inspiring Others

Written by Remy

People have different definitions of leadership. I want to focus today around the theme of inspiring others. As the “Lone Nut” Tedx talk has shown us you cannot be a leader without followers. So how do you get your followers… you inspire them! Make them share your passion and energy.

I inspire others

I inspire others

The particular student in the picture is a bundle of energy. Ashwin is the incoming president for CBESA and can be found cheering at the top of his lungs and jumping into any situation with the most outgoing and friendly attitude. Part of his charm is being so welcoming. The first thing he will do is stick his hand out to shake yours. As a leader, this is an action helps to create an intimate connection with your followers.

I am passionate about the work I do

I am passionate about the work I do

The passion that people have is contiguous. Think about any famous speech you have heard, Martin Luther King, Obama! They all speak with a passion that makes you believe in their cause. They rally the troops together with their spirit. You just have to be so passionate in your work and then you will make others want to help.

I care

I care

Some leaders do this unknowingly by just caring for others and passing on their kindness. I remember an RA during my first year helping me when my door got vandalised. Her kindness and caring inspired me to want to be an RA and to help others when they were having a rough day. These little moments that we can take for granted like in the Lollypop Moment Tedx talk, and have a ripple effect with creating new leaders and followers.

I wear orange when a lot of people wear black

I wear orange when a lot of people wear black

And to the person who marches to their own beat… yes, you inspire people as well! You make me question what I am doing. You make me question the norms. This type of leader is what we need to be critical thinkers and to create change. Look at Thomas Edison, he thought a little different, questioned a little more, and kept on doing what he was doing because it made him happy and it was what he was passionate about it.

“if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.

“if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.

So what I want to leave you with is this quote “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. We all have the capacity to inspire others. Chances are you are already doing it. Keep up the good work and keep making those positive impacts.

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

Whiteboard Wednesday: What is means to take initiative?

Written by PoojithaHappy Wednesday folks,

So when we asked fellow students what it means to be a leader (see What is Whiteboard Wednesday?.), many of the replies revolved around taking initiative. Taking initiative is an essential quality of a leader. All it takes is to do things without being told so, right? It may sound simple, but there is more to it than you think.

Let’s start by looking at example…

Lets say that you are in a small presentation room (with 10 people) where a guest lecturer arrives to give his talk. The lecturer starts to have immense trouble connecting his laptop to the projector in the room. The group of students in the room realize that the problem lies within the projector. As time starts to tick away, a couple of students go up to check if there are any technical issues. Then, identifying that a quick solution is needed student X gets up and inspects the neighboring rooms for a free projector. Upon finding one, he brings it to the room resolving the issue.

While it seems that many people in the room realized, student X was one of the very few people who actually took the initiative to help. Even though there were probably several people in the room capable of helping the lecturer, only a few walked up to provide aid. Secondly, taking initiative requires creativity or innovation. For example, student X could have simply stayed with the rest of the group and tried to trouble shoot the projector. However, student X realized that a better way to deal with the situation would be trying to find a new projector rather than wasting time with the existing one.

Now that we have an understanding of the topic, let’s look at some key characteristics owned by individuals who take initiative and how you can develop them.

1. Assign, organize and do it

People who take initiative assign themselves tasks which they want to see happen and they make it happen. They are DIY types where they don’t wait for others to do the work for them but rather do it themselves the way they want it to be done.

"I am a leader because...I challenge myself with new tasks"

“I am a leader because…I challenge myself with new tasks”

"I am a leader because...I try new things"

“I am a leader because…I try new things”

Go ahead and assign yourself some challenging tasks or try new things which you have always wanted to do. Certainly, they might not always work the way you want them to but it is always worth a try. And who knows? Maybe you will learn something valuable along the way.

2. Add something

People with initiative make the things they are involved with better by adding something only they can bring. For example, if you are a great cartoonist and on the school newspaper, but the newspaper doesn’t include cartoons, here’s your chance. Volunteer to do a cartoon for each issue of the paper.

"I am a leader because... why not?"

“I am a leader because… why not?”

Why not give it a special touch of your own to make it more meaningful.

3. Ask something

People with initiative, take every chance to ask and learn new things and they are not afraid to do so. Besides, if you don’t ask how will you know what opportunities await?

"I am a leader because...I am the one who knocks"

“I am a leader because…I am the one who knocks”

4. Go above and beyond

People with initiative go above and beyond of what it expected of them. In addition to doing what is required of them they go an extra mile to make their participation significant. And for those who try the sky is the limit!

Sky is the limit.

Sky is the limit.
Source: Pinterest

There! Hopefully the above key points helped you understand a bit about what it means to take initiative. Go ahead, and try some things which you always wanted to do and say to yourself confidently “Yes, I take initiative!”

"I am a leader because...I take initiative"

“I am a leader because…I take initiative”

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

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.

Whiteboard Wednesday: Hello My Name Is…

Written by ChantaleHappy Wednesday Gryphons!

Whiteboard Wednesday events have provided excellent opportunities to find connections and underlying themes among the voices within our student body. One of the common themes we found in response to the phrase “I am unique because…” was labelling identity, most commonly through one’s culture, job position, or relationship to another. Even though we are young adults preparing for our future role in society, “who ARE you?”  remains a complex question that cannot be satisfied by a short answer.

"I'm a mixed baby! I <3 Diversity!"

“I’m a mixed baby! I ❤ Diversity!”

The definition of ‘identity’ is often convoluted, for it is a multi-dimensional construct, like intelligence, that cannot be measured and represented entirely by a single number. Figuring out who we are and what we identify as is a struggle for many young adults that extends beyond university life. And that is A-Okay.

"Identity is never static, always in the making and never made."

“Identity is never static, always in the making and never made.”

Think about how our roles and identity have changed since coming to U of G. Initially, many students moved out of their family home, and created a new life with friends (or complete strangers!) in a Guelph residence. Other students commuted from home and had to find a balance between family and school life.

In September of 1st year,  I found it challenging to assume the Gryphon identity because I was not in residence, nor did I roam campus daily with a large, cheering troupe of just-as-excited freshmen in matching t-shirts. There are circumstances that require us to take the initiative to actively develop our role and the behaviours associated with that identity. Again, this ties back to the importance of getting involved!

Psychologist Erik Erikson coined the term “identity crisis”, which pertains to the soul-searching, developmental event in adolescence and young adulthood.

Erik Erikson is a psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development.

Erik Erikson was a psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development.

Studies have shown that adolescents and young adults often follow one of four main pathways:

1) Identity achievement: you took time to reflect and explore who you see yourself as:
“I am comfortable and satisfied as a university student in Biological Science.”

2) Moratorium: you are actively exploring different identities, but have yet to make a commitment:
“I am taking a variety of different courses at U of G to figure out where my passion lies.”

3) Foreclosure: you committed to an identity without exploration:
“I am a university student in Biological Science because my parents want me to pursue the medical field.”

4) Identity diffusion: you are not experiencing an identity crisis or commitment:
“I am unsure of where I stand as a student, and I am not eager to explore that part of me, nor commit to an identity.”

"I was born in England, raised in New York, but am Canadian!"

“I was born in England, raised in New York, but am Canadian!”

Because identity encompasses multiple facets in our life, it is not entirely permanent. Certainly, our heritage has roots deep into the soils of history; there is no changing where we came from. However, the interaction and growth experienced along the journey to where we are headed is monumental in shaping who we are. We often face identity conflict in times of significant change: starting a new job, moving to a new school, shifting family dynamics, or entering or ending a relationship.

"I am a Trinidadian/ Chinese, professional hip hop dancer!"

“I am a Trinidadian/ Chinese, professional hip hop dancer!”

We need to appreciate the fluency of identity, and the fact that humans are far too complex to fit into boxes. Each component of our identity has a spectrum along which we can place our personal pin. These pins will shift along as we progress through life, and explore different areas of passion, succeed, fail, develop skills, and meet new people.

Figuring out our self is a personal, life-long journey! Wearing the “Hello My Name Is…” tag identifies only the tip of the iceberg.