LIFE as an Assistant Trainer

Prior to Italy, I had always attributed an all black outfit to high fashion, the New York uniform and of course, something slimming. However, this perception was quickly and forever changed from my very first glimpse of the Trainers and Trainer Assistants who lead CIMBA’s LIFE Program.

In September of 2016, I found myself in a power stance as a participant of the Leadership Institute for Excellence (LIFE). Projecting at the top of my lungs had never been an aspiration, so to say the whole event was new to me would be an understatement. The program was intense, strange and stressful—so many things at every moment. It was also powerful, transformative and gripping for everyone involved. I was not sure when, but at some point, I knew I wanted to experience it again. Fortunately, this desire quickly manifested into an opportunity to don the black outfit and become a Trainer Assistant.

Upon arrival for training, I learned the number of participants was much larger than it had been in my own experience. My class, team 1077, consisted of just 17 people, and this group was formed from forty of the newly arrived spring undergraduate class. Naturally, I became even more nervous. 

As a full-time member of the CIMBA MBA program, I have spent the past few months learning about statistics, accounting, supply chain, specific businesses and their practices, but I have also learned about myself through these courses. In observing LIFE again, I realized so much of my leadership curriculum is compressed and exhibited in the teachings and opportunities presented to those who choose to participate in this training.   

One such lesson taught during LIFE is the value and ability to reappraise situations—if you can see an event from another perspective, the whole event might change. Participants are taught through a narrative such as the following.

While driving, when a car passes us or cuts us off, what happens? Most of us immediately become upset. The driver of the other car is seen as a dare devil, a risk taker, rude or typically much, much worse, but through reappraisal, we begin to imagine other possibilities. What if that car is headed to the hospital? Is a baby on board and ill? Or is the car filled with family members rushing to see a loved one’s final breath? Immediately, road rage can become hope and a situation can change by allowing our selves to see the alternatives. This lesson fits perfectly with why I wanted another opportunity to observe LIFE. What was negative in my memories had room to become positive.

When we speak in public, is it scary, or is it an opportunity to express ourselves? When someone asks you where you will be in five years, is it a chance to fret over shortcomings, or is it a chance to dream about the future? In becoming a trainer assistant, I was granted the opportunity to see people who let loose and identified with something inside of themselves. As our lives move forward, LIFE allows each person to begin to identify what triggers an individual to press on the breaks, slowing down or stopping. It was incredible to see that many of us are scared of exactly the same things and most importantly, we should have no fear.

Now, I can’t help but smile a little when I wear black. No longer is it merely fashionable or slimming, though those aren’t negative qualities. After a LIFE induced reappraisal, I see it as an empowering color that symbolizes making a difference.