"How to strengthen your inner compass?” Self-leadership workshop for Gerlev Idrætshøjskole students

By Diliara Gatiiatullina, ISCA Youth Officer

On 8 March 2023, Gerlev Idrætshøjskole (Gerlev Sports Academy), with ISCA, arranged a workshop for their students. It was provided in the “Inner Development Goals (IDG)” framework by Lisa Gawell and Fia Nerelius from Raoul Wallenberg Academy (RWA), Sweden.

What is self-leadership? Lisa Gawell explains: “We believe that the people that will reach the development goals are not the same people that we are today. We need to change and we cannot change others only ourselves. In our workshop we want the participants to reflect on essential values in their lives and see the potential they have to lead themselves in a positive direction. The method is inner reflection and sharing with others. The sharing of essential values in our  lives will nurture empathy and open up for different perspectives. Finally we connect people to help and encourage each other to follow our inner compass and contribute to the world in our own way”. 

The main topics covered were:

  • Personal values and strengths in order to strengthen the inner compass
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Toolbox for the Gerlev Sport Academy students and teachers to integrate content better into their study, work, and life experience after the workshop.

During the dynamic sessions with students, there were deep discussions about the importance of knowing and managing your values, strengths and weaknesses to use as an inner compass system for future decisions. The students discussed, for example, how now, after the pandemic times, we all could still feel affected and sometimes lost and how hard it is to find your own direction, when the outer world and social nets offer us so many alternatives of opinions. They spoke about how important it is to have a tool to find your own way and to know which aspects of the outer world affect you the most, and finally, how sometimes we follow goals just because of social pressure, but not our real desire.

Lisa and Fia prefer not just giving theoretical lectures about goals, but cultivating and improving them with the use of practical exercices. There were different tasks for collaboration: drawing each other, small discussions in pairs in order to share the experience, sharing your thoughts with the audience afterwards, and giving feedback. The coaches provided the participants with a unique digital tool for evaluation of values to identify and recognise your own "Value tree" in life at the current moment. Everyone focused on their inner world of values, defining the most important ones and sharing stories connected to these values.

For the workshop participants, it was a great opportunity to improve their empathy and compassion skills by sharing their personal stories, listening with presence, and observing from the side the difficulties and challenges that might arise, in order to build more trustful and safe space between students in living and studying concept of Gerlev Sport Academy.


“What we focus on = is what we are growing”

The next session focused on strengths and weaknesses: how much time do we spend on that topic weekly? The participants could ask themselves: How weak am I? How creative? How strong? and so on. After that, the participants were invited to build a connection with another person by noticing and sharing their strengths in order to highlight something that they might not notice about themselves.

By the end of the workshop Lisa and Fia shared a few techniques for understanding how to use these tools in the future. Now the students have better knowledge how to make big decisions, choose studies and jobs using the "inner compass”, and how to connect identified strengths and values in their current situation and check in with them monthly in order to make sincere and true choices in life.

At the end of the day Lisa and Fia provided a closed session for teachers on inner educational management. Exploring the topic of the values, they practiced identifying how teachers’ actions could be connected to and based on their strengths and values. Gerlev’s Sport Academy’s management and teachers’ team exchanged insights for better personal and work life. During the closed session they identified their strengths and circle of impact, found a buddy to support each other ans also discussed how new tools could make the Højskole’s environment more comfortable for their interaction with students.

ISCA would like to thank Gerlev Idrætshøjskole staff and Lisa Garwell and Fia Nerelius from RWA for the frutful collaboration, as we all as for arranging this event and for all the tangible contributions to Inner Development goals as part of the Future MOVE project.

Posted on 04/04/2023 by Diliara Gatiiatullina, ISCA Youth Officer