Student Leadership Feedback

What the students say

Ben Walden is just a perfect example of raw passion channelled correctly. His ability to influence people positively is at such a high level… I have been a subject as well as all of us, which had the opportunity, to a program that is 6 times more important in life than any other we are currently receiving in school. I arrived feeling a bit off I must say but this was what made me learn the most. We were given the most balanced schedule I’ve ever experienced (by this I mean the amount of work and free time was just on point). Ben is a great leader, not only because he was able to organize everything but because he somehow gave everyone the courage to be themselves in front of 30 people eventually making every single one in the group connect with each other and this is no bluff, I actually felt comfortable with everyone which I think is a great step to the trustful world we are trying to build.

Talking about myself as a person I feel that I’m closer to really knowing myself whereas my previous closed up self would’ve doubted opening up and showing who I really am to the society we live in and I believe that is the case with almost everyone my age, although it might just be puberty making life impossible. What I’ve come to mark as the most important factors in leadership are: Delivery (Voice/Tone & Posture), being capable of taking the right choice at all times and finally knowing yourself, because you can’t lead anyone if you cannot even lead yourself. What is best; is that every single thing I’ve mentioned I do because I believe it and I believe this is one of the best experiences I’ve faced.”

“Ben Walden Leadership Workshop… At first, I did not know what to expect. I thought that it would help me become a leader for Huaraz, but I did not really expect to learn as much as I did, nor to get something so special out of this workshop. In day 1, we identified ourselves and learned so much about us. I personally, identified myself as a magician, someone who wants to act quickly and do new stuff, thinking beyond what already exists. At night, we burned something that we wanted out of our lives, which, from talking to others, helped many people to get something off their shoulders. The next day, we did a number of activities, but the one that interested me the most, was the night activity in which we had to pass the voices of doubt to reach our objective. This helped many of us realize whether some things are worth trying, or maybe we were not ready to achieve our goals.
Overall, it was an unbelievable experience. I learned so much about myself, which I believe will help me for the rest of my life. Ben has an ability to read people and notice what they can improve and what type of person they are which is incredible and I think that, if possible, more students should try this workshop out as they will meet lots of amazing people and they will have a completely different experience to what is taught in school, which they will remember forever and will teach them valuable lessons about themselves, key aspects to speaking in public and they will meet lots of people.”

“Getting to know myself has been the hardest task set for me in a drawn out stretch of time. I’ve for the longest time, been itching to achieve a point where; I can ponder and recollect things I’ve done, choices I’ve needed to make and having the capacity to state ‘I really know myself’. It wasn’t until the end of the workshop that I was allowed to say that. I have values that were raised a long time ago as most of us do, with the help of an activity where we needed to throw away imperative stuff and keep what stood out, I noticed how much this meant. I unwillingly understood that I execute this in mostly everything I do on my daily basis. When it came to trust I took into account that I need to stop having twisted thoughts and be able to unspin what I spun so my mind can be settled, in order to trust. Additionally I discovered that sometimes bliss comes with a cost. You first need to meet sadness to understand what happiness implies on the grounds that what comes after is the best. We should all have the capacity to learn and bless the broken road that drove you towards where you are standing up today. Fear; my Fear is I can’t make everybody happy. It was extremely difficult for me to state this so anyone can hear in light the fact that I feared respecting this, I finally recognized it the last day but when I had the opportunity to say this I hold myself back. Everybody has flaws and we need to embrace them. Through past experiences I have realized that this is perfectly fine. What did leadership mean to me? All around in fact it has a totally unique importance to every one of us and more so now than before I began the workshop; a leader is someone you can lean on, a liberal individual, somebody who tunes in, who grasps openings, who sees how individuals feel and knows how to manage them, somebody who can discover answers for their issues during crucial moments. It is likewise somebody who NEVER surrenders and defeats each obstacle regardless of how hard the fight. Above all a leader is someone who is able to say ‘I Know I can’ instead of ‘I think’.”

“Attending Ben Walden’s leadership workshop was an amazing opportunity for me. I think that this experience has showed me how to be more confident in ways I never expected to. I found out that I shouldn’t be so uptight all the time, that I should loosen up, although I already knew this, I didn’t really have a method or a way to achieve this. During the workshop I was showed how to relax, how to take a deep breath and deal with situations which I didn’t have total control over, instead of freaking out.

The workshop also taught me how to embrace my faults and how to be a better leader using them to my advantage. One activity that showed me how to do this was when we had to write on a piece of paper what we wanted to stop doing or change about ourselves, then we would throw it into the fire. In my opinion this exercise wasn’t so much about getting rid of what you didn’t like about yourself, but accepting what you were doing wrong and thinking of ways how you could improve, but most importantly, this exercise was to teach you how to recognise your faults and how to be ok with them.”

“Having the chance to attend Ben Walden’s leadership workshop was an incredible opportunity. I not only got to know more about the other students but also about myself. In this point of our lives where we will make important decisions for the future, we need to understand our capabilities and the opportunities we have to improve. It also made me realize that being a good leader is not about commanding others but to be someone with the enough courage, confidence and good attitude to influence positively on others and always try to get the best from them. Also, it helped me understand about the importance of being tolerant towards others points of view. Also, I learned that you are not the only person in the world and that working in a team is always better than working by yourself. Moreover, I learned that we can get always something positive on a negative thing and vice-versa, and that what makes life so nice is the fact that life is a mix of “Joy and Woe”. Having to accept in front of everyone the day of the bonfire that I am a very competitive person, who likes to win all the time, was very hard. I did not want to accept it was true. But the next two days when Ben started persuading us about what actually made a good leader I realized that I couldn’t be a good one if I don’t accept my qualities and the areas where I need to improve; so, on the last day in the bonfire I thanked everyone for what they had done, especially to Ben who with his incredible speaking skills gave me so many tips I would always remember but crucially for giving me the chance to finally accept that winning is not everything and that sometimes I am going to lose, but in that happens I must not forget who I am and what I am capable of.”

“…….“I admire you for creating this, I don’t believe just any person could do what you do and what makes you do it is not because of what comes from your head, but what comes from your heart. So thank you for sharing that.” That is what I told Ben Walden in one of the activities we did, and it was my opportunity to say to him thank you for doing what he does, few are the people who dedicate their work on creating an impact on you and make you discover yourself. It is hard to forget them as they have been key for a part of yourself to come out, and I value this process by how it has influenced me.

I am that type of person that when you meet, the first thing you would not think about is spontaneity or that I like to talk and say what my mind says or that I easily approach people. That’s the part of me I have known always, but this workshop has made me go beyond of what I thought I knew, it has cleared the panorama for me, of what I truly can achieve. In the presentations, we made in front of everyone,
I got really stressed as I wanted to take my time to prepare what to say but then I realized these are not facts with what I am dealing, there was not a subject and the content of your words was free. I was dealing with myself, I did not need to prepare anything, it was just overcoming the lack of confidence in what I could say. I remember Ben asking me if I was a shy person at the end of my presentation and I told him, yes, and he replied by saying that he did not think I was shy, that I have a lot to say only that the problem was that I was hiding. This moment is when I learned to be fearless of what other people might say, I should just go and do it because if you settle this scene in a life situation, you will miss your chance of accomplishing what you want and the only one who stops you is yourself.

This workshop gave us the opportunity to know what a true leader is and how we can be one by exploring our qualities, accepting our flaws and have the will to make a change. It is not possible to change other or inspire others if you first not do it for yourself. This reflects one of the crucial moments I had in the workshop which was the night of the bonfire. I accepted one of my biggest flaw that was pushing me away from achieving many of my goals. It was to overcome my introvert qualities as it was depriving my mind of sharing with people what it can say. So I throw the paper where I wrote that into the bonfire and as I saw it burn, it marked a new path for me, a change and a new way of thinking.

Joy overpassed me as I told my friends about my experience in those days, not only about the things I learned but also about the people I met which made the outcome of this journey even more incredible. I would like to write the last four verse of the poem “Invictus” which Ben Walden shared with us that really let me thinking for quite a bit, also for the fact that it was very significant for Nelson Mandela who was a great example of the true leadership we need in this world:
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”…….”