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Living the Questions: Wellness & The Self-Authored Leader

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Jena Eberly

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of Living the Questions: Wellness & The Self-Authored Leader

Multiple Dimensions of Identity Development
Over the last 12 months...
Tools of the Trade
Tell stories
Ask philosophical questions
Create purposeful silence
Tackle tough topics
Connect content and context
Use Reflection-What were my life-giving moments?
Phase 1: Following Formulas
Follow plans laid out for them; allow others to define who they are

Phase 2: Crossroads
Plans are adjusted; understand limiting nature of allowing other’s approval to dictate their life’s course

Phase 3: Becoming the Author of One’s Life
Ability to choose one’s belief’s and stand by them regardless of conflicting circumstances

Phase 4: Internal Foundation
Solidified idea of identity; mutuality of relationships; accepting of ambiguity
State of the Student
Helping Students Make Meaning
2011 National College Health Assessment
The psycho-somatic effects of
living the questions
105,781 respondents
129 institutions

86% felt overwhelmed by everything to be done
82% felt exhausted (not by physical activity)
61% felt very sad
57% felt very lonely
53% felt more than average or tremendous stress
51% felt overwhelming anxiety
45% felt things were hopeless
31% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function
Causes of trauma or
great difficulty
16% death of family member/friend
25% social relationships
25% career-related issue
27% family problems
32% intimate relationships
34% finances
45% academics
Living the Questions:
Making the Connection between Wellness, Self-Authorship, & Meaning-Making
Jena Eberly, M.Ed
Jeremy Wright, M.A.
I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in Letters to a Young Poet
Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L., & Renn, K. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (2nd Edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Are students
'living the questions'
living in fear
of the questions?
How do we help students gain the skills to 'live the questions'?
Why does it matter?
Self-Authorship & Community
For the Self:

Shifting meaning-making capacity from “outside the self to inside the self”

“Coordinator” of defining one’s beliefs

Individual spends time reflecting and approaching a knowledge of who they are
For Others & Community:

Discovery of worldview and acknowledgement that an individual is a “part of the whole”
Ability to ascribe to communities of similar values
Construct mutually beneficial relationships with others
The source of some of life's great meaning-making questions:
Nash, R. J. & Murray, M. C. (2010). Helping college students find purpose:
The campus guide to meaning-making. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
(Elisa, Susan, & Marylu, 2007)
(Jones & McKwen, 2000)
Making the Connection:
Self-Authorship & Wellness
Depict relationship between context & salience
college success
is not the result of intrapersonal factors alone, but rather the
reciprocal interaction
between the student and the institution." (Hartley, 2011)
sexual identity
spiritual identity
ethnic identity
multiple jobs
financial stability
What do I believe?
where do I live?
Who am I?
social connection
"Every education teaches a philosophy of life, if not explicitly, then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. If the different parts of that education do not cohere or connect with each other; if the educational process as a whole does not combine to convey a coherent view of life; if, in the end, it does not
, then, it is not education at all." -G.K. Chesterton
"Mental health problems have been predicted to be the largest single burden of illness globally within the next two decades" ( Mathers & Locar, 2006)
(cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr
Active (and often) reflection matters
Six Word Memoir
Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity
How can we be
What makes us happy?
1. Love vs. Fear
2. Acceptance
"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned" -Buddha
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great"-Mark Twain
"Depression knows neither sleeping nor waking"

"Seeking the fullest expression of self"

"I have time to fix this"

"Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin"

Self-Authorship & Student Affairs
Three main questions to "develop an internal capacity to define one's beliefs":

1. Who am I?

2. How do I know?

3. How do I want to create relationships with others?
Three Elements:

1. Trust the Internal Voice

2. Building an Internal Foundation

3. Securing Internal Commitments
Full transcript