I got really involved in the gypsy culture there. It was one of the first times that I was excluded from a group. At first, I was treated like an outsider and was largely ignored. It made me very aware of pervasive racism, and how we separate ourselves from those who are different in some way. I started educating myself and learned more about these issues. Ultimately, I became a trusted friend and was able to hear from them about their history and ancestry, their music and culture. I was able to see first-hand that not everyone is free and able to do what they want.
Many emerging sage leaders identify the great influence that mentors have played in guiding their lives. One identifies a caring former boss and another identifies a philosophy teacher who believed in her. A special relationship with a grandfather who taught you can change things, or a grandmother who gave constant encouragement are also mentioned, as is the impact of a father turning over to his sons the reins of Campus Life Ministry. Another emerging sage identifies working with the founder of a service learning and mentoring nonprofit organization at UC Irvine, and one reports as uplifting the impact of his boss placing confidence in him:
My boss asked me to run a $2.5 million project when I had never managed a project all the way through. That catapulted me into a level of leadership I hadn’t expected.
Various educational experiences are also the source of peak experiences among emerging sage leaders. One mentions the planning and successful implementation of a retreat that resulted in her school being named Northern California Flagship School. Another identifies the pivotal experience of having placed tenth in an all-state high school debate. One emerging sage leader wanted to be a biologist but didn’t enjoy the classes, so he took an economics course and fell in love with numbers and graphs. Another was about to leave for graduate school at the London School of Economics when her boyfriend asked, “Why don’t you become a chiropractor (her father’s occupation)?” And she did. Then there is the boy who hung-out with troubled kids in 8th grade:1K Club