June 2016

June 2016

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So, I have had a few cups of coffee and even more conversations these past few months, and over the past year as a fellow I've traveled from Boston to Miami, New York to Chicago, and now I'm looking forward to Aspen and Sundance. Not too shabby, eh? As I've mentioned before, this all seems incredibly surreal, if not a bit obnoxious at the moment, but bear with me, I promise to provide something reasonably humble and perhaps even life changing, well, let's go with reasonable and maybe slightly helpful. 

First off, let's address the contractual question at the heart of this essay, we actually have prompts to keep us somewhat focused, probably because somebody rambled far too much last time about food, trains, and metro stops. Here goes. 

What stands out to you/has surprised you about your leadership development through the Fellowship to date?

Whew. Are you ready for some awesome amazing best-ever fellowship insights? Leadership is hard. No really. It's totally an impossible burden to even address. Well, it's not that bad, so I'll step back, but it's not easy, nor is there a perfect model of a leader, that perfect one which is so easily copied, providing transferable flawless wit , wisdom, and charm. The best I can offer that as a leader, you'll more or less fall into it, usually on your face several dozen times, and if you keep picking yourself up and doing what you do, but with perhaps some subtle tweaks or moments of brilliance, even accidentally, you're probably doing alright. 

I'm not sure I've met a leader, which in itself is a heavy title, so let's go with mentor, that has not completely failed, messed-up, or otherwise begged and pleaded for another chance. That's normal. So perhaps the crucial bit of advice here is to try something, almost anything, and learn how to do it better each time out. To listen, and yes, listening like leadership is hard too, as we're all trying to gather the best voices and lessons which surround us, finding the best way forward, and the only way to do just that is to, well, slow down and listen to those around you. I suggest coffee and a nice heavy muffin as means to motivate listening, as when you're eating, you have to actually listen, or at least nod, to finish that muffin. I'd suggest the nod and head turned to the side, which allows gained knowledge to funnel into the inner ear unobstructed.

Now that we've addressed the scientific means of listening effectively, remember head turned to side, but not too much, as that's weird, how does this all relate to the fellowship? Homestretch stuff coming up. Well, if anything, the fellowship allows for that all important time to reflect, to question the world around you, while of course expanding that incredible world around you considerably (remember, we go to the best conferences that have caffeinated coffee on carts, and graduate programs which serve muffins too) and we gain these moments of zen, moments that make us think that we might actually be onto something. That we might in fact have it all figured out, that things, big and small, might just sort out if this change is made, or maybe if we approach said incredible challenging thing a different way next time, lessons are learned, skills are gained, muffins are consumed. 

Alright, that's what I have to offer at the moment, I have much much more of this of course, but word count is at play, and the website has storage limitations I'm sure. So my fellow reader and future amazing leader, if we ever do meet, let's chat, converse, listen to one another, as we share some of our brilliant, and yes, even not so brilliant, some say perhaps embarrassing moments. It's alright, we'll have coffee. 

Now, I'm literally off to Boston. In a plane. With a window seat. I even get to ride the Red Line, which is in a tunnel.