Zainab Kakal

Nationality: Indian Living in: Mumbai, India Programmes: ILP 2013

Nationality: Indian
Living in: Mumbai, India
Programmes: ILP 2013

One of the things I did post-ILP was to take an oath of honesty and I am going to write this piece in the very same spirit.

If someone would tell me that an 'International Leadership Programme' has been life changing for them, I would appreciate their input, respect their context and move on. Would a programme as such have an impact on me? I would have thought - no. No programme can teach you how to be a leader. No person or groups of people can hand you guidebooks, lessons or speeches of what makes a good leader.

I grew up with self-development literature around me and have grown sceptical of conversations that use the words leadership and improvement loosely. So obviously, I did not immediately take to this programme which claimed to train emerging leaders and make the world a better place. I did not need yet another self-help, Dale-Carnegie kind of talk which reeked of morality and offered life-changing silver bullets.

However, this programme came recommended by friends (and my instinct) and I agreed to keep my doubting mind aside and go through it as a social experiment. I vowed to be humble and persistent and sincere. And writing this now, I am thankful that good sense prevailed. I would in fact, recommend ILP, for the two following reasons: 

Space: I have always found mainstream discourse around lifestyle management, leadership, life choices and values a bit too restrictive and pedantic for my liking. I was happy that the ILP had a space for someone like me where I could reconsider these old-school thoughts and create a new school of philosophy which was ‘good’ and ‘right’ for me. For instance, most leadership books or trainings have told me that I need to be a good listener to be a good leader, and in spite of knowing or hearing it or reading it, I was yet to put it into practice. At ILP, I got the space to truly engage with that thought, to completely understand it and then, imbibe it. ILP does a great job at creating safe and nurturing environments which allow for disagreements and challenge obvious knowledge and experience.

Time: I have often found myself confused at crossroads, revaluating misplaced priorities, surrounded by pop philosophy, and living from one epiphany to another. For someone like me who enjoys deep learning and clarity of thought, that was a nightmare. ILP forced me to reconsider, spend time with myself, look into myself for direction first and then seek advice elsewhere. This has brought me closer to myself in many ways and I am slowly learning that it is indeed a privilege to know myself and spend time with myself.

Needless to say, these two reasons are also my biggest takeaways – giving myself space and time. And I am deeply grateful.

John Cummings