As I had mentioned in my first log, the Bush Foundation Fellowship is a journey that has to be approached with a very open and curious mind. Almost a year to the start of this journey, these are the things that stand out to me and/or have surprised me through this leadership development:
1. Every day is a learning day, but only if you approach it that way. As I continue my efforts to have increased expertise in the field of information technology, I am constantly reminded that the best learning I have is the one that I approach with no preconceived judgement or conclusions. I have come across people who would want to challenge me just because I have a ‘Bush Fellow” next to my name, and I have come across others who welcome me to their circle of knowledge and influence because of that. My role is therefore to acknowledge the existence of these two spectrum and be ready to adjust without prejudging anyone.
2. As I continue to study systems and organizations that are within our digital and economic development ecosystem, I am reminded how change never comes easy, and power is never relinquished willingly. As I continue to position myself as a role model in my community, and a thought-leader within the digital and economic development ecosystem, I see organizations and other powerful individuals perceiving me as a threat because they see my authentic representation of my community. This fellowship is allowing me to approach such situations from a position of strength, never underestimating anyone’s positions but also never underselling myself for what I’m capable of.
3. I am continuously reminded that nothing beats the power of human connection. Sometimes we over-complicate situations by not paying attention to the simpler things that forge strong bonds between individuals. This leadership journey has made me slow down and pay more attentions to my existing relationships, both professional and personal, and have a clear strategy on how I can pay attention and nurture them even when I seek new professional and personal relationships.
4. I am continuously amazed by what self-care can add to my leadership journey. Prior to this fellowship, self-care was not something that I paid a lot of attention to. I was always confident of my ability to regulate myself and avoid burnouts. Now I see that I was actually not maximizing my abilities because I was always caught up in high-stress situations. And now I cannot go more than three months without doing something deliberate that constitutes self-care!