The question of timing when you apply for the Bush Fellowship falls into three main areas: space for your growth, knowledge and connections, and a deep understanding of what you need to grow as a leader.
Space for your growth:
You are busy! If you plan to just keep doing what you are already doing with your full life and add the Fellowship on top, you may need to reconsider whether now is the right time in your life for a Fellowship. Folks who get the most of out the Fellowship create the time they need to focus on Fellowship activities. If you are already running at maximum capacity, do you have any room to absorb new experiences, connections and ideas? More than likely, you will encounter new things and they will bounce right off because you are moving so fast. We don’t want you to miss out on maximizing this Fellowship experience. Help us understand how you will make space in your extraordinary life for the Fellowship.
Ask yourself: Do I have the time to devote to my own growth in service of the people and issues I care about?
Knowledge and connections:
Are you driven to become an even stronger leader so that you can accelerate your ability to make positive change with your community? If so, you need connections to the people most impacted by the change you seek, as well as a foundation of knowledge about an issue to give you credibility and a clear sense of what is needed to make change happen. Of course, we know you will learn new things along the way. Help us to understand what will help you soar based on how you are already grounded through your personal experiences, knowledge and connections.
Ask yourself: Do I have enough connection to the people who are most impacted by the issue I care about to really make a difference through my leadership?
What you need to grow as a leader:
If the Fellowship is going to be truly transformational for you, an intentional plan for your Fellowship is necessary. Fellows tell us that being clear about how they need to develop, starting out with a plan that stretches them beyond their comfort zones and leaving room for serendipity are key to maximizing their leadership growth during a Fellowship. When you are thinking about your plan, help us to understand why the plan you submit truly exposes you to new people, experiences and ways of being. How does it open the possibility of helping you to be more effective in leading across difference? Where are you intentional about not only building your knowledge and connections, but also deepening your understanding about who you are as a leader and what makes you effective?
Ask yourself: Do I know enough about how I need to grow to really put together a plan that makes the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience?
We hope that considering these questions, along with reviewing the Bush Fellowship page, will help you figure out if now is the right time for you to apply for a Fellowship. Even if you don’t apply this year, thinking about your leadership plan will help you get ready for when the time is right.