Each year, P.A.W. Journey provides reflection-based opportunities for personal growth and development through its STRIPED pillar. The Spring 2021 leadership meeting spilt our team into upper and underclassmen, each focused on different phases and upcoming transitions for their lives. Our freshmen and sophomores took the Clifton Strengths Assessment to discover their top 5 strengths. Much more than a personality test, the assessment looks at each participant’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to identity what they naturally do best. The underclassmen not only took the assessment, but also came prepared to discuss and recognize how they utilize their strengths in their daily lives. Through a combination of self-reflecting and comparing and contrasting with teammates, our underclassmen were able to express their own identities and appreciate the abilities of others.

Inflection and understanding of oneself lends to influencing and how one impacts others and their environments. Our upperclassmen were prepared to look to how they utilize the strengths they have developed into various contexts of their futures. Looking at their professional, relationship, financial, health, and life experience goals, our junior and seniors began creating 3-5 year plans. The group examined and expressed the lives they want to lead with their teammates, providing support and suggestions for making these goals into reality. Continuing this support, former player Dwayne Allen virtually joined the group and closed with reminders for the team on relationships, humility, and the many resources to take advantage of when constructing their futures.

The 2020 leadership meeting was hosted by John Pullen, a Chief Growth Officer and P.A.W. Journey mentor. Pullen hosted two sessions, one for our underclassmen and one for our upperclassmen. He discussed the importance of developing self-awareness, the process of becoming a great leader, and the power of your life story. Pullen emphasized the capacity we all possess to be an authentic leader and how fundamental it is to explore and learn from the power of your story and your “why”. The students discussed with one another the obstacles they have faced, experiences that have shaped them, and what they can individually improve on in order to polish their leadership skills and be men of greater impact.