Senior staff from the education, welfare, culture, and leisure departments of the Beer Sheva municipality, who are participating in a leadership program at the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev this year, recently held an intensive seminar at Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev.
The extremely cold weather conditions presented an unexpected additional challenge for this group of senior leaders, for whom stepping away from their regular lives and comfort zones to spend two days in introspection at a remote retreat is challenge enough in itself. Leaving behind the office and the plush environment of the Mandel Center for sub-zero temperatures in the desert made things that much more difficult.
But the participants displayed remarkable resilience to the weather and gave themselves over to the educational process as if they were entirely used to Arctic conditions. It's possible that it was the subject of the retreat that did the trick: "Inspiration."
How to define inspiration? Israel Sorek, one of the program directors, proposed the following: "Inspiration is a personal example that lives in our hearts and directs our actions." The participants examined models of inspiration in their lives, and tried to think of circumstances in which they could say that they serve as inspirations to others.
Outside the room, wind, rain, and cold prevailed; inside, around twenty leaders from the fields of education, welfare, culture, and leisure in Beer Sheva worked feverishly to identify their sources of inspiration. The fire in their bellies might be explained not only by the cold outside, but also by Nietzsche, who claimed that exploring our inspirations reveals our own elemental natures. What leader would not want to uncover his or her own elemental nature?