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Leading from the Inside Out

By Nurredina Workman, Cal Corps Public Service Center, UC Berkeley
From research, we know that being clear on our values and listening to our inner voice makes a significant difference in our work. A study by Posner and Schmidt[i] (1993) showcases the importance of listening to one’s inner voice. They found that high levels of commitment are directly related to being aware of personal and organizational values. Surprisingly, when organizational values are clear but one does not have personal clarity; it results in the lowest level of commitment. As Kouzes and Posner (2002) state, “people cannot fully commit to an organization or a movement that does not fit their own beliefs” (p. 50)[ii].

The Shinnyo Fellowship at UC Berkeley offers the rare opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to not only take action within the community but to reflect on what calls them to serve as a peace-builder. On August 23rd, 2011, we hosted the Shinnyo Fellow Summer Institute with the Foundation’s Program Director, Ineko Tsuchida, Ph.D., a daylong orientation that serves as a platform for the fellowship over the course of the year. In the morning, a brief overview of the Shinnyo-en Foundation, the Six Billion Paths to Peace, and the core principles of being a Shinnyo Fellow were provided.

In the afternoon, our time together centered on reflecting on the values that ground us and how those values radiate out in our service work through an arts-based workshop. We were joined by five fellows from the W.T. Chan Fellowship program. The W.T. Chan Fellowship is a 5½ month program that brings undergraduates from China to the United States for a significant intercultural service-learning experience at a non-profit community organization that challenges poverty in the Bay Area. Our goal was to create an intergroup dialogue on how to better align our hearts, minds, and actions in the way we serve so that we may deepen our ability to create greater harmony on the planet. The Shinnyo Fellows and Chan Fellows highlighted the importance of serving in the context of her or his unique gifts noting that a good, strong and inspiring leader not only knows what gifts they bring but also seeks to find and empower others.

Since our time together in late August, I have had the privilege of watching Shinnyo Fellows, Tria Andrews and Andrew Flood grow. Tria has diligently been working on creating a yoga and journaling practice for young girls and Andrew has been working on creating a VITA site to provide tax assistance to low income community members.  According to the fellows, the experience has been a tremendous opportunity to deepen their commitment to a lifetime of service. Andrew Flood shares, “The Shinnyo Fellowship has provided me with the opportunity to not only positively affect my community with a service project I am passionate and excited about, but also to explore the motivations behind this passion. Discovering my own path to service and how it relates to what I do and who I am today has been an amazing journey that I hope to continue not only through the  rest of the fellowship, but as I continue on to a career and life of service.” We are very grateful to be a part of the Shinnyo-en Foundation.

[i] Posner, B.Z. & Schmidt, W.H. (1993). Values Congruence and Differences between the Interplay of Personal and Organizational Value Systems. (pp. 341-347). Journal of Business Ethics, 12 (5), 341-347.
[ii] Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z. (2002). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass:.