At the center, we are surrounded by motivated and curious people who usually have too many things at once on their plate and only realize they shouldn´t have taken on the next side project when it is too late. Together with Julian Geuder from bridgingpositions, a recurring guest at the center, we had the chance to take a step back for a moment and rethink why we are doing what we are doing. During three intense and emotional days, many of us could answer important questions such as “What should the next step in my life journey look like?”, “Am I currently on the right path?” and “What do I really care about now and in the future?”.

Julian managed to create what felt like an incredibly safe space to talk about personal topics such as our childhood, purpose, values and ambitions and guided us with the help of a well-structured process through the complicated and sometimes tough topics we were handling. Through the Self-Leadership Backbone, we got to know ourselves but also each other better.

In three days, we went from

  • going into our past and understanding our personal strengths and weaknesses and where they come from
  • to reflecting upon our purpose and values right now and defining our ambitions for the future and the pathway to get there.

In each of these steps, Julian used different methods and frameworks to guide us. Besides journaling and self-reflection walks, this also included long outside walks in (virtual) groups of three, listening to and giving each other feedback on the phone. This format did not only give us the chance to finally spend considerable time away from the screen but also enabled us to get to know each other more deeply and talk about things we would otherwise probably only discuss with our most intimate friends.

After every walk, we would come together and reflect with the whole group what we learned and what were the key takeaways. Despite many realizations being very personal and everyone interpreting them in their own way, among the most recurring insights were that

  • Although we all had vastly different backgrounds and histories, it was surprising how often similar thoughts and problems were keeping us busy.
  • It helps a lot to talk about personal challenges with other people and truly open up. In a way, it is sad that we are doing something that feels so relieving and insightful that rarely.
  • Purpose is not something we need to search for in the whole wide universe, it is in ourselves and we need to find and notice it.

What struck me the most was how people interpret your stories and challenges in their own way, see connections that you couldn´t see before, and add their own thoughts which are entirely new, sometimes even eye-opening for yourself.

Concluding, we probably all left this elective with a more thoughtful, reflected approach to our lives. Some with big reinvention projects ahead of them, some reassured in what they are doing at the moment, but for sure all a little more connected, conscious and purpose-driven.

We are very thankful to Julian and bridgingpositions for once again providing this great experience to the CDTM students on a pro bono basis. We will spread the word and hopefully create a more giving world altogether. Also, thanks to the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) for showing us that there is more to leadership than hard work!