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Boccardo builds better leaders

Lindsay Boccardo tells students to say ‘no’ in creative ways and to avoid being an overacheiver. Photo by Katelyn Edwards.

“Overachievers,” as expected, filled the seats of the Michel Student Center ballroom on Oct. 17.

The ballroom was rarely without laughter from the over 300 attendees throughout motivational speaker Lindsay Boccardo’s hour-long presentation at both 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. titled “High Achiever Land.” The presentations aimed to teach student leaders to take care of themselves in order to better care for others.

“I felt very called out, but in a good way,” said Sam Ruland, junior graphic design major. “Sometimes you need someone to yell at you about how you need to stop yelling at yourself.”

The event was hosted for all Bradley students by Bradley’s Greek Programming Board, composed of seven students.

Senior elementary education major and educational chair for the programming board, Emily LeCrone, first heard Boccardo speak at her sorority’s convention over the summer and knew she wanted to bring Boccardo to campus.

“[Boccardo] changed my mindset in a way I thought everyone could relate to,” LeCrone said.

Boccardo engaged with the audience through multiple interactive activities and frequent relatable anecdotes. Boccardo forced students to practice thinking and saying compassionate words about themselves while also learning how to resist other overachieving tendencies, like extremely high self standards, through remembering “I’m only a human.”

Using the words of author and speaker Richard Rohr, Boccardo compared the sticking power of bad thoughts to Velcro and good thoughts to slippery Teflon. She then gave the audience 15 seconds of silence to only think about their positives and what they are proud of about themselves.

“We’re hardwired to forget the good things,” Boccardo said. “You remember ‘what Billy said about my thighs in third grade.’”

Feedback reflected that students found this exercise difficult since they felt all accomplishments are just duties that are expected of them or still inferior to the successes of others.

“When you compare yourself to others, you are bullying yourself,” Boccardo said.

Aileen Richardson, senior nursing major, was called up on stage to practice saying “no” to a simulation of the dreaded “note borrower.” Richardson, like many other leaders in the audience, has trouble “resisting the urge to overhelp.” “It’s difficult to be positive with yourself and negative with others, but [it’s] important to learn how to do that,” junior elementary education major Shaina Pine said. Boccardo provided students with a list of “creative ways to say no” and had them, including Richardson on stage, practice these responses out loud to each other. “I don’t think the word ‘no’ is in my vocabulary,” Richardson said. “[The presentation] helped me learn how to use it.”

Laughter also filled the room as Boccardo relayed humorous narratives about the importance of taking care of one’s body and mind. Students were encouraged to create reasonable to-do lists and leave open time slots in their calendars, so that every day is not an exhausting puzzle to navigate.

“[Boccardo] reminded us to take time for ourselves,” said junior music business major Larissa Moreland.

In this room of typical “overachievers,” Boccardo left the crowd with this message: “You have the power and influence to change the trajectory of someone’s life. That will work best if you take care of yourself first.”

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