Written by Izumi Tsurumi
Ms. Tsurumi coordinates the leadership program at UWC ISAK Japan.
Realize Your Potential
Be a Catalyst for Positive Change
What do you hope to do with your one life? This is a difficult question for many of us, and a question that many of us explore throughout our lifetime.
The leadership program at UWC ISAK encourages each community member to respond purposefully based on what is important and needed in our daily lives, from disagreements amongst peers to feeling stress in our body.
On top of practicing intention each and every day, we also provide opportunities for students to explore their big purpose in life – what do I hope to do with my one life? According to Bill Damon, purpose is “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond the self.”
In order to explore their purpose, through series of activities in the G10 Leading Self course, students develop their awareness for what they love to do and are curious about, as well as their unique skills that they have. It is important that each of us can pursue what we love to do using our unique set of skills, but what we emphasize is that we are applying our passion and our skills for a need bigger than ourselves. As Bill Damon’s definition of purpose states, what we commit to cannot simply be meaningful to us, but it also has to be “consequential for the world beyond the self.” Students are exploring to identify the part where the three areas: love/curiosity, skills and need in the world meet.
One of the unique opportunities we have at UWC ISAK to deepen our understanding of personal purpose is the Project Week. For the Spring Project Week, each student will design a 3 day trip to explore one or more of the personal purpose areas in depth. These experiences could include partaking in a workshop to develop a skill of choice, interviewing a professional to find out about their passion, interviewing a member of an organization to find out about a need in Japan in depth. In the past, students have skilled up on cooking techniques through a cooking course, visited water treatment factories to learn about water pollution, and met and interviewed animal rights activists amongst many others. I cannot wait to see what unique ideas they come up with this year. At the end of the project week after students come back from their journeys, we aim for each student to create a vision for the world they wish to create for the future, and design a company/organization/project to realize this vision.
Identifying personal purpose, where skills, love/curiosity and needs in the world meet, is easier said than done. We don’t expect that by the end of Spring Project Week that each G10 student knows exactly what they wish to do with their life. However, what we wish is that they come away with a set of tools to continue this exploration for their lifetime. This is so that they are not mindlessly following a life path that others have set out for them, but that they are intentionally paving their own path to be positive change makers in this world.