New Eyes Ceremony

Mark Warner

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This is one of my favorite activities that I created to open a talk, conference, workshop or seminar. It is energizing and sets a tone for a leadership development session.

Facilitator Says:

I need you to stand up where you are. (I usually stand on a chair, unless I'm on a stage).

Now I need you to put your thumbs and index fingers together to make little circles. Put them up to your eyes (I demonstrate). Don't worry about looking foolish . . . because you do. These are your new eyes, but you don't get them for free. You have to repeat an oath. (you might have to remind them to keep their new eyes up to their face). For this to work, I need to hear you repeat this loudly. Ready?

Today I have a new pair of eyes.

Eyes that will help me see my role in (leadership) differently.

We have great potential, and . . .

Now is the time

To share ideas, dreams, and strategies

And in collaboration with each other . . .

We can make a difference.

(Facilitator Note: Any topic or organization name can go in the parentheses.)

Now sit down! (Usually some laughter at this point.)

You know the great thing about these new eyes you just got? They are portable. You can put them in your pockets, take them to the shower with you . . . However, if you are going to make a difference you have to consciously put them on.

Think about it this way. Imagine your bedroom, and the pictures you have on the wall. My guess is that if you have lived in this place for over six months, you don't even see the pictures any more. And the reason is that you've walked by them so many times that they don't click up here (point to your head). It is the same in our personal or professional lives; if we don't look at the world in a different way, we will not be able to make a difference.

Today, I urge you to keep the new eyes on. Challenge yourself to be a little vulnerable, and intentionally look at the world differently. Hopefully during our time together, we will be able to appreciate and use our new pair of eyes.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiots Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem by Mark J. Warner

Mark Warner is co-author of the book Inspiring Leadership: It's Not About the Power and author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem, now in its ninth printing. Mark is Professor and Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and University Planning at James Madison University as well as an active speaker and consultant in business, government, education, not-for-profit, and religious sectors. He can be contacted by phone at (540) 568-3685 or by email warnermj@jmu.edu.

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