In my last CTI class, we discussed values and how they can be expressed. It can start with one word and be elaborated through phrases or images or sounds—a stream of ideas that represent the value to you.
For years now, I’ve found the word powerful to be appealing. It’s big, bold, and strong. And it started rather simply:
“List in order of preference the top two academic areas that interest you from the majors list.” I liked programming and literature, so I wrote down computer science and English on my college application. Later I attended the School of Engineering orientation where my adviser told all of us incoming students that a math degree was only four additional classes with the computer science degree; later that week I walked into my adviser’s Star Trek-decorated office to talk one-on-one about my schedule thinking I should aim for the computer and math dual major. But he said those magic words: “If you could find a way to earn all three degrees, it would be powerful.”
I went back to my dorm room convinced I could make it work, and I did—I graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BS in computer science, a BA in math, and a BA in English. While in college, I also joined Theta Tau Fraternity, served two years as my chapter’s regent, and was named the national fraternity’s Robert E. Pope Outstanding Student Member. To say I was busy is an understatement.
By my senior year, I felt powerful. And post-graduation, my career has taken me on a journey to further explore that value. I came across Dr. Brene Brown’s works and realized that powerful [for me] also contains a wholeness—wholeheartedness. Deep presence that contributes to the BIGness of powerful.
Exploring the idea further, I remember a group dance lesson taught by Dawn Hampton. It wasn’t about practicing certain moves or where to put your feet or anything like that—it was about listening to music and connecting to your body. Every person in the room danced their own groove to bhangra. That word—bhangra—is a powerful one. It is compelling and strong. The video I found of Dawn and bhangra didn’t feel right to me, so I’m posting a different song and dance. This is closer to what I think it feels like to be wholehearted, connected, and powerful:
What’s one of your values, and what does it hold for you?