The scene as I left for the Leadershape program last week was grim indeed- living without the constant and welcoming grasp of internet for a week in lieu of interacting with a bunch of complete strangers. How horridly fascinating.
At least for people like me, whose life revolves around our technological vices, the journey to the Sultana Beach Resort in Al-Khor was the hardest. Spending an hour and a half sitting next to a stranger looking for Wi-Fi bars is no fun at all. And I emphasize the word ‘stranger’ once again because over the next week, that word faded behind the joy of connecting with people without inhibition or fear of judgment.
The program over the course of the next six days had more twists and turns than the A&M building(which, is saying something). The activities ranged from in depth and engaging talks, to games and simulations that left us questioning our own natural reactions to situations. There was also a guest leader panel comprising of local leaders like Buthaina al-Ansari from Qatari Business Women Association, Susie Kelt from Vodafone and Mohamed al-Kaabi from Maersk Oil. I was especially taken aback by the way these leaders persisted with their visions. As a group, we danced, laughed, joked, rapped, had intense discussions and pranked through the six days and ended up becoming a closely knit family. Leadership to us, was no longer a an unattainable goal, but a tool that we could use to attain our vision. Community, Vision, Possibility became some of the words we became accustomed with. We wrote down our visions, discussed them, and managed to set goals for the future. The intense discussions we had in our ‘family clusters’ were memorable and unforgettable.
If I said that the journey to the resort was hard, leaving it was heartbreak. I am pretty sure that I will never experience such a mix of openness, family and fun in my life. Making more than 60 friends in a week was a feat I probably couldn’t accomplish anywhere else(even on Facebook). I would recommend this program to one and all, and I wish I could go back.