Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders

Manage Energy, not Time: Whole Person Paradigm

In a previous post, I mentioned the book The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey (who also authored of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – both of which are on my recommended reading list), and I stated the following:

The Knowledge Worker Age is based on another assumption or perspective called the Whole Person Paradigm, wherein each human is seen as having 4 dimensions: body, mind, heart, & spirit.

To quote Stephen Covey, directly from The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness:

I commend to you again this simple way of thinking about life: a whole person (body, mind, heart, & spirit) with four basic needs (to live, to learn, to love, & to leave a legacy), and four intelligences (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual) and their highest manifestations (discipline, vision, passion, conscience), all of which represent the four dimensions of voice (need, talent, passion, & conscience).”

The table accessible at the following link demonstrates this statement concisely: Whole Person Paradigm table

The reason I’m bringing these ideas back up is that I want to talk about how we can effectively manage all 4 dimensions in away that creates our optimal living experience, or “flow”, so that we can contribute to our communities in the most meaningful & difference-making ways.

Managing Energy is the Key

In another book on my recommended reading listThe Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance & Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (published by Free Press; 1st edition – February 4, 2003) the authors suggest that the top performers in any field are those that are “fully engaged”.

They describe “full engagement” as “optimal energy in the context of high performance,” or otherwise stated, you have achieved “full engagement” when you are:

  • physically energized
  • emotionally connected
  • mentally focused, & 
  • spiritually aligned

As the picture to the right suggests, it’s almost as if we have 4 distinct aspects of our person that each has needs which are interdependent on the others.  Only when one has balanced out the needs of all 4 aspects will one achieve the greatest success in life.

The authors make the following assumptions (words quoted directly from The Power of Full Engagementmentioned above)

  • Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance.
  • Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related dimensions of energy: physical, emotional, mental, & spiritual. 
  • Because energy capacity diminishes with both overuse & underuse, we must learn to balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal. 
  • To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.
  • Positive energy rituals – highly specific routines for managing energy – are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.  

Balance: A Pillar of Achievement

In the book How to Get an “A” in Life (published by TDG Publishing, Los Altos, CA, 2005) by Brother John Dudeck (Indiana ’75 Initiate), he focuses on the idea of 7 Pillars of Achievement that ultimately lead to Wisdom.  Those pillars are: Faith, Integrity Attitude, Discipline, Relationships, Growth & Balance

Balance is the final pillar in Brother Dudeck’s symbology.  In the book, he states “By keeping our body, mind, spirit, & emotional reservoirs healthy, we create inner balance.  And by staying grounded and in touch with reality, we can more consistently make wise choices and decisions that lead to achievement over the long term.”

Brother Dudeck then describes Seven Key Strategies for Achieving Balance:

  1. Nourish Your Body
  2. Stimulate Your Mind
  3. Nurture Your Spirit
  4. Use a Journal to Keep Negative Emotions in Check
  5. Choose to be Around Healthy People
  6. Be Flexible
  7. Never Give Up

In Closing:

Nothing could wrap up this topic better than the following quote from How to Get an “A” in Life, which describes how the idea of balance works as related to our own development / growth:

“GROWTH stands to the left of BALANCE (in the diagram) because these two pillars are especially interdependent.  Keeping mind, body, spirit, & emotions in shape requires a rock-solid commitment to continual self-improvement.  Furthermore, the creative thinking and eye-opening experiences that naturally stem from a willingness to grow tend to positively influence all dimensions of health & well-being.”

Going Further

For those of you interested in going further into this topic, the following links may be of interest to you:

The Human Performance Institute –

Franklin Covey –

How to Get an “A” in Life by Brother John Dudeck –

Optimal Fraternity Experience

Cornerstones 2.0 reflects a rethinking of how we interact with the program.  Along with Cornerstones 2.0 comes a revised mission statement to guide our activities.

A mission statement answers the questions: “What do we do?” “For whom do we do it?” “What is the impact?”

The re-written Mission Statement of Cornerstones is:
To create & foster the optimal fraternity experience* for every individual member of Acacia Fraternity by providing an environment that promotes continual self-development, accountability to shared goals, and standards for personal conduct. The resulting outcome is graduating seniors who are able to articulate the positive impact of Acacia Fraternity in their lives, as well as their plans for staying involved as an alumni member.

* “Optimal Fraternity Experience

The idea of the “optimal fraternity experience” is a combination of two ideas.

1. from a question that Darold Larson likes to ask undergraduates – “Are you having a good fraternity experience?”

  • Generally speaking, if you have a “good fraternity experience”, it is much more likely that you will stay involved as an alumni in some manner at some point.  This is what we’re going for.
  • If you have a “bad fraternity experience”, it is likely that you will not want to be involved as an alumni, and therefore might never get to fully realize the positive impact that the fraternity could have in your life.

2. from the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

In the book, optimal experience, or “flow” is defined as:

the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it”.

“Flow” is also described in the book as being the same phenomenon as when athletes are “in the Zone”.

One of the characteristics of Flow is that you lose a sense of time passing – or in other words, you are so engaged in doing whatever you’re doing that a 2-hour timeframe seems to pass by in 20 minutes.

How Flow Theory Relates to Cornerstones & Your Goals / Ambitions / Objectives

The Cornerstones Personal Development Plan document is intended to help you define & refine your own ideas & beliefs about what is most important to you in your life.

This is the first substantive step recommended for any pledge or member (& even for alumni!)

This first step is so vital because ultimately it is best for you to be working towards goals or objectives that are personally meaningful to you.

Flow Theory

(description copied verbatim from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Harper Perennial Modern Classics; 1ST edition – July 1, 2008)

The essential steps to get into Flow are:

  1. to set an overall goal, and as manysubgoals as are realistically feasible;
  2. to find ways ofmeasuring progress in terms of the goals chosen;
  3. to keepconcentrating on what one is doing, and to keep makingfiner and finer distinctions in the challenges involved in theactivity;
  4. to develop the skills necessary to interact withthe opportunities available; and
  5. to keep raising the stakes  if the activity becomes boring (or if you reach your goal)


So What? 

Glad you asked.  The goal is to get to a place where every member of your chapter could answer positively to Brother Larson’s question: “Are you having a good fraternity experience?”  

There are, of course, a number of elements that contribute to the answer of this question – but I would humbly suggest that if every member of your chapter were to complete the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan, do all of the exercises within, every one would be that much closer to living their ideal life.  At the very least, each member would know what they are intending to do in their life.

The idea is that once you have completed your Cornerstones Personal Development Plan all you would need to do each semester is review your valuesvisionmission/purpose statementstrengths, then re-define your goals & action plans for the upcoming semester.

Questions for You – Leave a Comment

What do you think of this idea of “optimal fraternity experience?” Is it attainable? What would it take to attain it?

Response-Ability Determines Growth

It is not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.” – Epictetus

The Inner Gate of Change

You are ultimately responsible for your own growth & development.

You are the only person who can make the decision, for you, to choose to participate in the Cornerstones Program.

Here are a couple of quotes that are relevant to everyone’s personal development:

No one can persuade another to change.  Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.  We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.” – Marilyn Ferguson, American author, educator, & public speaker

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” – Henry David Thoreau – US Transcendentalist author (1817 – 1862)

The quote above reflects a mindset (or paradigm or perspective) that believes in the ability of every human to choose their response to the events that happen in their lives, regardless of what those events are.

Formula for Taking Response-Ability

In a book that I have frequently mentioned, The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield puts this principle first and foremost of all of the 64 principles discussed in that book.  He calls it “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life”, and he provides a simple formula to help illustrate this point.

E + R = O (or Event + Response = Outcome)

The explanation from the book follows:

“The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it is success or failure, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event or events in your life.  If you don’t like the outcomes you are currently getting, there are two basic choices you can make:

  1. You can blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O).  In other words, you can blame the economy, the weather, the lack of money, your lack of education, the current administration in Washington, your bosses attitude, and so on…  No doubt all of these factors do exist, but if they were the deciding factor, nobody would ever succeed.
  2. You can instead simply change your responses (R) to the events (E) – the way things are – until you get the outcomes (O) you want.  You can change your thinking, change your communication, change the pictures you hold in your head (your images of yourself & the world) – and you can change your behavior – the things you do.  That is all you really have control over anyway… Everything you think, say & do needs to become intentional & aligned with your purpose, your values, & your goals.”

What will your choice be? 

No one is going to hold you accountable for your own growth & development if you don’t hold yourself accountable first. You must make the choice and say,

  • “You know what?  I’m going to work on my time management skills so that I can achieve at a higher level”, or
  • “Alright that’s it, I’m going to learn about the best way to run a group meeting so that I don’t have to waste so much time just trying to make a decision”, or
  • “There’s just got to be a better way to give a speech than the way I’ve been doing it – I’m going to do some research & incorporate what I learn.”

That’s all that Cornerstones represents. As I mentioned in a previous post – if your response to Cornerstones is something along the lines of “Man that s^%# isn’t gonna make a difference in my life”, then you are exactly right.

And likewise if your response to Cornerstones is “Hmmm, there might be something here for me, I’m going to just try it out by completing the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan, and see what happens…” You will get a different Outcome or result than the member in the first example.

Take responsibility to achieve the outcomes that you want by refusing to resort to blaming or complaining.  Anytime you feel like blaming or complaining, stop & ask yourself : “What kind of response from me would lead me in the direction of the outcome I’m shooting for?”  Listen to your inner voice, and do what that voice says!

Jumpstart Cornerstones at Your Chapter

10 Actions to Jumpstart Cornerstones at Your Chapter (Active Members)

1 ) Have every member complete the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan. Schedule a time for the members of your chapter (& pledges if applicable) to complete the personal development plan template provided by Acacia HQ. Or just share the url with all of your members & set a timeframe within which it is to be completed.

2 ) Post everyone’s personal goals in a public location, whether that be in your chapter house, or online through GoogleDocs, or, or individual blog sites for each member. Knowing each other’s goals will make it easier to support each other, as well as reveal to each other what we consider to be the most important aspects of our lives. Some may hesitate to make their goals public, and that’s ok. Some may want to keep some goals private, and that’s ok also. If members are not willing to share their goals, at least ask that they share their Values, as written out in the Values Clarification exercise in the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan.

3) Implement weekly Accountability Group meetings. Schedule times for 5 – 6  members with similar goals (or similar grade levels) to have a brief meeting, during which everyone has a chance to discuss their progress on their current goals.  In the book The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield calls this a “MasterMind meeting”, and recommends the following 7 steps.

  1. Ask for Spiritual Guidance by Delivering an Invocation (use Bless Now Acacia, or this book suggests something along these lines: “We ask now to be filled & surrounded with light, and our hearts be open to receive guidance from the higher power.”)
  2. Share What’s New & Good (in terms of making progress toward your goals)
  3. Negotiate for Time (determine how much time each group member will have for the focus to be on them)
  4. Individual Members Speak While the Group Listens & Brainstorms Solutions (remember – in brainstorming there are no “bad ideas” – keep your mind open)
  5. Make a Commitment to Stretch (once each member gains feedback, ask each member to verbally commit to a next action to move him forward & the commitment should be a stretch)
  6. End with a Moment of Gratitude (go around and have each member express one thing he appreciates about each other person in the group)
  7. Be Accountable (at next meeting, simply ask “Did each member take action?  Did they achieve their goal?”).
  • (this content was paraphrased from pages 310 – 312 in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 2005)

4 ) Implement an Accountability Partner system by which each member (that is interested in participating) has a partner with whom they “check in” each day simply to talk about successes they have had in reaching their goals and their plans for next action steps to continue to move toward their goals.  Also in The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield suggests that “The key to a successful accountability relationship is choosing someone who is as excited about reaching his or her goal as you are about reaching yours – someone who is committed to your success and theirs.” (from page 313 of The Success Principles, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 2005)

5 ) Survey the entire chapter to discover topics of interest for “educational/developmental presentations”, compile the results, then use all of your resources to schedule presentations that are relevant to the topics of interest. You can use the Survey or Poll functions in your myACACIA account for this purpose. Simply navigate to the Tools menu from your myACACIA Dashboard, select Survey or Polls, follow the instructions & share with your chapter members.

6 ) Discover opportunities hosted by university community.  Find out if your university (or the Student Union Board, or the Student Body, or the Campus Activities office, or the Career Center) schedules & hosts any expert speakers that would fulfill any of the above-mentioned topics of interest. If so, publicize the event to the chapter and encourage members to go.  Hold a brief discussion afterwards to hone in on key points made during presentation, by asking these basic questions that could be used to reflect on any development activity:

  1. “What?” – as in “What experience did you just have?”
  2. “So What?” – as in “How is this experience relevant to you?”
  3. “Now What?” – as in “What will you do now that you have this new knowledge, experience, mindset, or perspective?”


7 ) Publish an eNewsletter to send out to alumni in which you provide brief bios of each of the members of your chapter, including which of the members are currently looking for internship or employment opportunities. Each chapter is encouraged to work with Acacia Headquarters to create eNewsletters to be sent out to you alumni – or you can take this into your own hands & just get it done. If you are interested in creating & distributing eNewsletters, please contact Director of Communications, Michael Moore, at

8 ) Use your alumni as resources. Use the results of your earlier survey to discover topics of interest for “educational/developmental presentations”, and publish a list of topics in your eNewsletter (or on your chapter website) that the chapter is interested in. Once you get this list published, recruit alumni members to deliver educational presentations on one of the following topics (or any other you’re interested in):

  • Time Management
  • Goal Setting
  • Job Search
  • How to Find a Mentor
  • Things I Wish I Knew When I Was in College
  • Financial Management
  • or any other topic that the chapter is interested in

9 ) Build your “Cornerstones Library”.  Create a “wish list for a Cornerstones Library”then do whatever you have to do to bring it to life, and use the contents of the Cornerstones library for the personal development of chapter members. Do some research to find out about any books or training materials that meet the topics of interest (mentioned above) in terms of utilizing them for Cornerstones discussions/activities. If you’re having trouble deciding which books to select, take a look at a previous post for some ideas. For example, let’s say you wanted to purchase copies of The Success Principles for all members of your chapter, and that you were able to do that. Those books could then be used in the Accountability Group structure, by assigning the reading of sections of the book to Accountability Group members, then focusing on those sections during your meetings. All you would need to do is ask yourself: “What did everyone discover in the assigned section?”, “How is that relevant to your life situation?”, and “What will you do now that you have this new knowledge?”

10 ) Take responsibility and ownership for your own development, bring along any brothers who are interested, and don’t waste time trying to motivate members who just aren’t motivated to work on their personal development. This may be difficult to understand, but you cannot change another person. Change only happens from within that individual.  You can do your best to inform your members of opportunities that are available, and inform them of what you are doing in your own life, and the benefits that you are seeing as a result. Cornerstones is about commitment, not compliance. We are interested in working together with other brothers that are committed to their own development. We are not interested in telling brothers that they “have to” participate in Cornerstones, because that will automatically set up resistance in their mind, which will make it harder for them to commit. Work on your own sphere of influence – your own thoughts, ideas, and attitudes. Let your actions speak for you. Let others see a change in you, and soon they will be asking how you are doing what you’re doing.

The Voice of the Knowledge Worker

One of the most successful books in the area of personal development isThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, as mentioned in my previous post.  Covey published a follow-up book called The 8th Habit, in which he talks about humans in the current Knowledge Worker Age (or Information Age), which has replaced the Industrial Age and all of its now outdated ways of doing things.

The primary assumption is that the world has fundamentally shifted, and the old ways of getting results that worked in the Industrial Age will no longer suffice. For example, companies and organizations can no longer treat employees like “things” and still expect them to be loyal to the company.

In this new paradigm, it is essential that we look at humans in a new way as well. The Knowledge Worker Age is based on another assumption or perspective called the Whole Person Paradigm, wherein each human is seen as having 4 dimensions: body, mind, heart, & spirit.

Covey states in the book, “I commend to you again this simple way of thinking about life: a whole person (body, mind, heart, & spirit) with four basic needs (to live, to learn, to love, & to leave a legacy), and four intelligences (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual) and their highest manifestations (discipline, vision, passion, conscience), all of which represent the four dimensions of voice (need, talent, passion, & conscience).” The table accessible at the following link demonstrates this statement concisely: Whole Person Paradigm table

Voice” is defined by Covey as your “unique, personal significance” or “your calling”.  Covey suggests that “voice lies at the nexus of talent (your natural gifts and strengths), passion (those things that naturally energize, excite, motivate, and inspire you), need (including what the world needs enough to pay you for), and conscience (that still, small voice within that assures you of what is right and that prompts you to actually do it).”

Note that “spiritual” is not necessarily related to any set of religious beliefs.  “Spiritual” refers to an individual feeling a deep sense of purpose or mission about their contribution to their community – wherever that may be.  “Spiritual” refers to “who you are at your very core” and your own interpretation about how you fit into the larger community.

Cornerstones 2.0: Find Your Voice, Tell Your Story

“Finding Your Voice, and Telling Your Story” is what Cornerstones is all about.  The process of “Finding Your Voice” is what fraternities have always been all about, although it may have been articulated in different ways.

Covey suggests that “when you engage in work (professional, community, family) that taps your talent and fuels your passion – that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet – therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.”

I am focusing on this idea of “voice” in order to make an important point about the program – which is – that Cornerstones is not about mandating a certain course for each individual member's personal development. It is your responsibility to chart on your own. Cornerstones is about applying some basic principles of personal development in a way that is personally meaningful to you.

Finding Your Voice” refers to the process of personal development and introspection by which an individual comes to discover or create their “calling”, or their life’s work. As mentioned above, your “voice” can be found at the intersection of your talent, your passion, the needs of your community, & your conscience.

Telling Your Story” relates to the practice of demonstrating the growth or progress that you are making as an individual.  It includes the casual conversations that you have with your friends, questions that you answer for potential members, writing a reflection after participating in a development activity, as well as being able to explain to a potential employer why your experience in Acacia provided you with a process that made you into the best possible candidate for the job you are going after.

So, again, the first step in our new “Cornerstones 2.0” model is to complete the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan. Do the introspection, the reflection. Then, feeling more connected to “who you really are” – go out and take action to realize your dreams & goals! It’s that simple.

Get Wisdom Book List

At the 2011 Acacia Leadership Academy, I spoke on the subject of Cornerstones 2.0.  In another post, I explain Cornerstones 2.0.

At the request of several of the ALA participants, I am publishing a list of a few of the books that I have read over the past few years, in my own search for knowledge, wisdom & understanding. I’ve listed what I consider the “Top 7”.  I’ll continue to add to this list as time goes on & I read more.

Now, I should mention that I am one of those individuals who enjoys reading text.  If reading is not your thing, most (if not all) of these are available on audiobook, so you could listen to them while you work out, walk to class, etc.

Without further ado, here is the list of books, ranked according to what I consider to be their relevance to Cornerstones:

1) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic by Stephen Covey & The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey.  The first book is probably the most influential & widely-read personal development book of the past half-century (at least).  Both books are mentioned here because they flow together.  Many of the exercises or ideas used in Cornerstones 2.0 were discovered in one or both of these books.

2) The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield.  Compiled & written by one of the biggest success stories in the current age, this book is packed full of nuggets of wisdom that have the potential to help anyone along their path to realizing their dreams.  Canfield is also one of the most widely-respected personalities in the field of personal development, having co-authored the hugely successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

3) The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz.  This book turns the whole idea of “time management” on its head and suggests that the most important aspect of your life to manage is your level of personal energy, while successfully oscillating back & forth between energy expenditure & energy renewal.  The authors use much research from the world of top athletes & top industry leaders who achieve peak performance to provide a template & gameplan for how we can all structure our days to achieve heightened levels of joy & performance.  The Corporate Athlete Training Program & Personal Development Plan template specified in this book are being used by Acacia Fraternity for the purposes of Cornerstones, with permission of the Human Performance Institute.  Check out this video for an explanation of their view of “Energy vs. Time”.

4) How to Get an “A” in Life: The Seven Pillars of Achievement by John Dudeck & Diane Dudeck.  John Dudeck is an Acacia Brother from the Indiana Chapter, who recently presented at the 2011 Acacia Leadership Academy.  John & his wife, Diane, have created a clear framework in The Seven Pillars of Achievement that is an ideal system for making decisions in our life based on Wisdom.  The Seven Pillars (Faith, Integrity, Attitude, Discipline, Relationships, Growth, & Balance) are a relevant framework that our members can use as their “moral compass” while making some of life’s most important decisions.

5) Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie.  This book is one of the latest in a series of books that originates from research completed by the Gallup Organization over the past 50 years, and it includes a powerful StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment that, when completed, will summarize your Top 5 Strengths, as well as provide ideas about how best to put your strengths to work.  There are a number of books in this Strengths-Based series, and all of them could be relevant to you, however this one onStrengths-Based Leadership is particularly relevant to Cornerstones & Acacia Fraternity.

6) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (not Acacia’s Dave Allen), here’s a link to his company’s website. His website does a great job of describing GTD (Getting Things Done).  His model for workflow mastery has redefined how I live my life, how I process information, how I plan to complete projects.  A lot of what he recommends is very logical & will make perfect sense to you – almost as if you already know this information.  I highly recommend this book & the process described within to any member of Acacia, and especially to new executive officers who might feel overwhelmed by all of the various responsibilities associated with your role.

7) The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination & Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.  A further description can be found here. This book has had a huge impact on how I “talk to myself” in order to motivate myself to take action on the following: things that a part of me may not want to do (i.e. “exercise daily”), & large projects with distant, looming deadlines (i.e. “implement Cornerstones”).  The ideas contained in this book were, and continue to be, nothing short of revolutionary for my ability to focus on the most important things in my life, avoid procrastination, and feel a sense of progress on large projects.

How to Apply Any of These Books within the context of Cornerstones: 

Step 1: Set a goal related to reading books on the subject of personal development.  For example, my goal is to read at least 1 hour per day on the subject of personal development.

Step 2: Read the book.

Step 3: Take notes & do the exercises that the authors recommend. Keep a file folder on your computer (or a notebook/binder) with word processing documents in which you take notes or do the exercises.

Step 4: Get Better at Stuff.  You will undoubtedly improve & develop based on the extend to which you engage with this kind of material. Sometimes progress will be immediately obvious, sometimes it will be more “slow & steady” – but just the fact that you are continually working on “getting better” will lead you to improvements that you can’t imagine at this point.

Step 5: Repeat.

What is Cornerstones 2.0?

During the 2011 Acacia Leadership Academy, a new version of the Cornerstones Program was discussed with the attendees – and we’re calling it Cornerstones 2.0.

Now – you may be reading this thinking, “I don’t even know what Cornerstones 1.0 is!”  That’s one of the reasons for a new iteration of the program guidelines & resources.  Another reasons that we need Cornerstones 2.0 is the resounding feedback received from undergraduate & alumni members alike, that the program is “too rigid, too extensive, not realistic.”

For the sake of clarity, Cornerstones 2.0 is a new perspective on our program, and is a step away from having a “rigid & overly-extensive checklist of required activities”, and a step toward “working with overall developmental principles to define personally-meaningful goals for each individual, as well as an action plan to achieve those goals.

The original curriculum of activities presented in the first version of Cornerstones is still relevant.  Chapters & individual members should NOT just toss those aside – they remain as good examples of activities that may lead you further down your own path of development.  However, those good examples are only recommended to you if they are congruent with your own personal values & goals.

So, in terms of Cornerstones 2.0, the most important activity is the completion of the Personal Development Plan template (available for download here) for each individual pledge and/or member.  By working through this template, our members will engage in the following activities:

  • Clarify Your Values,
  • Write a Mission Statement (or Life Purpose Statement),
  • Create a Vision of Success,
  • Identify Personal Strengths,
  • Set Personal Goals, &
  • Define Action Plans.

Here’s a screencast demo of how to use the new website at myACACIA to track your Cornerstones developmental progress: view video on YouTube.

Potential Questions: 

Is this simplified framework going to answer all possible questions or concerns regarding Cornerstones?

NO – since we are working on one of the most difficult & complex fields of human endeavor – human motivation – this new framework will not be the end-all, be-all for your chapter.  However, it will make the program more accessible, more simple to get started, and hopefully more manageable amidst all of the other competing interests in your life.

Is this more-focused framework going to get the members of my chapter to participate?

MAYBE – again, this new framework is focused on the member defining relevant, current goals that are personally meaningful to him.  If a member of your chapter doesn’t have any goals, or objectives, or “things he wants to do, be, or have in his life” – then you should probably be seriously considering why your chapter recruited, pledged & initiated him.

Is the Personal Development Plan template all that I need to do to be “participating in Cornerstones”?  YES & NO –

YES – in that if you complete this document, you will be fully prepared to embark on a journey to achieve your goals, and all you really need to do is re-visit & re-write your Values, Mission, Goals, etc. whenever any of that changes for you.

NO – in that you still have to take action to achieve your goals, reflect upon your progress, & re-set goals when their are either achieved or become boring to you.

Final Word: 

You don’t need to “know everything about Cornerstones” in order to take action.  You just need to identify what is most important to you, make a plan to achieve it, take action, and demonstrate results (whether positive or negative).  If you’re not sure about what is most important to you, write something down anyway.  As your mind goes about your days, those areas will come into better focus.  A quote by a past U.S. President is appropriate to cite here:

“There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”   – President John. F. Kennedy