Veteran Stories

Authentic Service and Constant Growth- A Reflection on the Spartan Leadership Program

Travis Manion Foundation’s Spartan Leadership Program, sponsored by The Boeing Corporation, graduated its first class of Leaders in November 2020. The 7-month program, built upon the principles of Positive Psychology, works with Veteran and Survivor Leaders from across the nation to hone their unique skill sets. 

Navy veteran and graduate Lacey Sladky reflected on her experience with this one-of-a-kind program.

 

The past 6 months have given me the opportunity to look inward – beyond the daily routine. This time has been set aside for me and for my own interpretation of leadership without the overlay of others’ needs, expectations, nor my own past patterns or habits. 

The words and actions of program guest speaker and Retired Marine General Clifford Stanley stressed the importance of forgiveness. His spirituality formed the foundation for all that he has done, and he moved me to draw on spirituality when forgiveness is difficult. 

The curriculum was also incredibly supportive of growth. The work on resilience gave us the ability to apply actionable mindset shifts away from catastrophizing and receiving information from others. The opportunity to develop and refine a personal leadership statement is invaluable. My own statement feels authentic to where I am now, and where I’ve been: 

I believe in the power of constant growth as a path forward, and as the only way to overcome challenges and move through this world of constant change. I will continue to learn, share, and preserve my inner light as we seek to make a positive impact on the world around us. 

With fellow SLP participants at the Leadership Expedition in Colorado, I felt the comforting cadence of being uncomfortable together. We’re all on different journeys, but for a moment it felt similar to the very best part of service— moving in the same direction with a group of people from all walks of life. 

I had a few “aha” moments on those trails. I’m leading that next generation in my own home. I now know the importance of a mindfulness practice. I am settled into myself, ready to let go of anything that doesn’t serve me and I move forward making an impact. 

I am completely certain that I am, and will be, a better leader and individual because of the members of this cohort and because of the work we’ve done together. I’m more committed to serving not only in my community but also in my own home in a way that is most authentic to me.

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