Journal Topics for Leaders

We all have the potential to impact the world in a meaningful and lasting way. Learning who we are and what we have to offer takes time, patience, and thoughtful self-reflection. Taking a job at a summer camp, allow the following questions help you discover your own capacity for leadership.

Blue Ridge Mountains

1. Consider the concept of control as a leadership principle. Rather than attempting to control others, how can you enhance your ability to lead by controlling your own feelings and actions?

2. Challenges will help to define your leadership style. In moments of struggle, how will you remain disciplined enough to act in accordance to the purpose you’ve set forth for yourself?

3. Consider all the ways that your life has fallen into place at the exact right moment at the exact right time in the exact right order to lead you to this moment. Life has conspired to help you make an impact on those around you. How will your acknowledgment and gratitude toward these things impact who you are as a leader?


4.  Your integrity and credibility define your ability to lead. List experiences when you intentionally allowed ethics to drive your actions.

5. A successful leader values others and keeps a constant awareness on what she can learn from them. How will you work to remain open to perspectives different from your own?

6. Altruism serves as a solid foundation for leadership. List how you put people first.

7. As a leader, you’ll dedicate your life to resisting your own immediate desires and shortcomings in favor of long term success. Consider your vices. How will you work to gain control over these?

8. Leadership begins with a strong belief in your work and an ability to communicate this meaning to others. What makes your work meaningful? How can you share this meaning with the world?


9. Effective leaders empower others by encouraging autonomy and mastery. What tools can you employ to help others feel independent?

10. Leaders choose meaningful, deep interactions over surface exchanges. How do you take an interest in people?

11. Effective leaders understand how to manage conflicting personalities. How can you reconcile people of divergent belief systems to create a cohesive group?

12. Negotiating a wavering sense self-assurance can greatly enhance your capacity for leadership; it promotes empathy and a sense of authenticity. How will you navigate your fears and feelings of self-doubt to enhance your ability to lead?

Shut Your Mouth

Being a great camp counselor means being aware of the needs your campers have, even when they don’t express them directly. It can mean knowing when to speak and when to listen. At times, camp life asks us staff to be quiet. Here are a few times when we best serve ourselves by staying silent.

In The Mud

When We’re In The Mud

Anytime we find ourselves engaged in a nasty conversation, we should shut our mouths. Gossip and cruel words about the character, clothing, or personality of anyone else adds no value to our own lives. In fact, those powerful words do quite the opposite. At these times, we can open our mouths only to stand for the hard right against the easy wrong.

When We’re Learning

Teachers come in many forms- bosses, children, friends, books, newspapers, animals, moments, and, of course, teachers. When life is presenting us with a lesson we should work to keep our mouths closed. We can listen and observe, and allow our minds time to process the experience before we jump in with our own opinions.


When a Friend Comes To Us

Often times, we just want to help. When a friend or loved one comes to us with an issue, our first instinct is to problem solve. We, initially, must resist this urge. Let’s give our friends the time and space they need to explore their troubles from multiple angles. Instead of talking, we can listen, nod, empathize, and speak only when our loved one elicits our help. Mostly though, in this moment, they are searching for a listening ear.

When Good Things Are Happening Without Us

This shut-our-mouths moment is crucial for those of us who work with children. We want to facilitate conflict management, encourage healthy risk-taking, and manage our children’s choices so that they will make the right ones. Of course, we need to model best behaviors and teach our children healthy and wholesome ways to live their lives. After this, we can take a step back now and then. We’ll be amazed at how well children can manage their own arguments and how gracefully they can implement the lessons we’ve passed on to them. Practice makes perfect. Let them practice without us every once in a while.

When People Are Watching Us

…and we’re watched more than we realize. What we say helps those around us determine who we are as a person. If what you are about to say may speak negatively about your character: keep it to yourself.

The Good Life

When Life Is Good 

Sometimes we talk over our own bliss. Allotting ourselves just a few moments of quiet observation each day can help us see how beautiful our lives really are.