By asking students, simply, “If you were to develop an eighth pillar, what would it be?” students are asked to really contemplate whether the seven pillars feel complete for them.  Whatever they come up with, they will surely have understood the pillars more fully, as a result of having tried to find an additional pillar.

Premise: If you were to develop and introduce an Eighth Pillar, what concept would you add?

Prompts to incorporate into your presentation: 

  • What would you call your Eighth Pillar?
  • What would be the rationale or logic behind your Pillar?
  • How would you apply your Pillar and in what contexts?
  • How might you visually represent your Pillar?

Process: Convene your pillar group to brainstorm together to come up with a potential “8th Pillar” including the above prompts in your process. Be prepared to share your process and outcome with the class. Incorporate the language and lessons you gained in this course as you develop and present your outcomes.

Teacher Note: Allow for approximately 15 minutes of classroom time to think up this pillar and present it. Prepare to be impressed at the energy and creativity your students may pour into this add-on exercise.

Real-Life Student Examples: Here are a few actual student concepts, from exercises undertaken in at CSUMB with classes held by Professor Watson. Our thanks to Dr. Watson and her students for sharing these materials with us:

Student 8th Pillar   Image      Concept
Get in Growth Mode Blossoming tree Go beyond staying power, go beyond own organization and build vision into other communities and applications. Integrate goals in a broader context.
Stay Grounded  Rooted tree  Stay realistic, don’t over-reach, stay in your lane. Dream but get real, stick to what you know and what you’re good at. Develop your own resources and strengths, and then branch out.
Perspective Curtain on etage Learn to step back to see who you are, what roles you play, what you’ve done, and what needs to be done. Get clear on who your audience or market or client is, and what they need and expect. Learn to look with fresh eyes.
Expansion Slinky – Tight then expanded Expand your initial vision, dream big or bigger. Once you have accomplished some level of vision or certain goals, go out of your comfort zone to expand your plan and your reach
Strike a Balance Yin & Yang Strike a Balance Image – Yin & Yang or Vintage Scales Concept –  Eight is a balanced number. Don’t over or under do. Balance your investments of time and money and energy and people. Give and take.
Spread the Word Hands connected, reaching upward, fingers spread. Connect with others, get your message out. Go where the wisdom is. Reach out to ignorance. Stand up, reach up and be noticed.
Map it Out Blueprint Start with a foundation and build on it. Make plans, generate support, create structure.
Passion Circle, fire, parachute, open heart, supernova, foundation, seedling. This student didn’t have explanations, only imagery…
Dance it Out Heart Have empathy for others.
Self Discipline Magnifying glass  Focus on what’s important.
Dance it Out Dancer on stage  “When in doubt, dance it out.”
Recharge Battery  You need to recharge for staying power.
Congratulate disco ball, confetti, balloons  This is for the pillar “credit sharing.”  Congratulate / Reward.
Equilibrium Scales or fulcrum  Seek balance.
Harmony Key, lock, music staff Stay in harmony.


Additional student images that did not go into depth conceptually include: reflection (mirror, prism, pond); volunteerism (people holding hands); growth (tree with shady leaves); self-love (arms outstretched towards the heart); cultural competency (a rainbow of people holding hands around the world); and adaptability (a pillar on fire). 

Our thanks to Professor Lisa Watson of CSUMB for Assignments I and II on this page.