Joseph McNeil

Joseph McNeil
Learning Log

Joseph McNeil

Report date
November 2019
Fellowship term
12 months
Learning log 1

What I thought was important for my leadership development wasn’t as much of a priority as I thought. My initial focus for my Fellowship was to attain a Master's Degree in Business Administration. I believed that the tools needed for me to be present at the tables I’m already sitting at, I didn’t have. I do have those tools, and those I feel I do not I can spot read or ask a professional. The time that’s needed to be successful in achieving that degree is time and attention I cannot afford.

The lesson therein is that what you want and what you need are two different things. The talent, ambition, and drive that got you to this point, being a Bush Fellow, those attributes are what you develop. The challenge is what do you do to develop that, hone it, find and make a network around it. The team you’ve worked with just got bigger, and you’ve no idea how much support you have for this time and afterward.

My coach Pam Thomas has been an invaluable source of guidance, self-reflection, self-centering and focus. She provided ways to center myself before starting my day, questions to ask myself before engaging in another activity. How to look past the limitations I have in my mind and heart. What would you do if you had no fear, how would you attack the day without limits, think of how you would be, this is the gift before you. This question is a very personal and challenging one, first identifying what your fears are. Many of us have worked within and around that fear daily and don’t recognize that a fear element is there. We’ve become so adept at working around it that we don’t see it.

But what if it was gone? Now you're talking about the element of possible gain or loss, restriction or freedom, advancement or stagnation, who are we with personally and professionally, and who will we leave behind. These are all elements to consider, ultimately that actions have consequences and no one gets out alive.

This concept of no fear is a powerful tool to say to yourself, make your goals even bigger, broader, affect even more. Push down limits set before you that serve someone else's agenda and do not recognize your community and its’ needs. The goals you have for a better community, environment, and the actions that brought you here will now take you further. You may have to let some things go to attend to the gift you’ve just earned.
Honestly, I have a hard time letting go of the day to day grind.

I’ve managed to pull myself away from fifty percent of it, then new projects come my way, and I get excited for these are things I’ve wanted to see happen, and the opportunity to play a part in that development is rare. The challenge is there to make things better, will it still be there if I don’t act now? This time right now is my time, and attending to that is the challenge. Time waits for no one, and this Fellowship is a fleeting thing, a rare thing, a beautiful thing that you are responsible for yourself to make something of it.

The first retreat is a great experience, meeting and engaging new fellows in your class, imagining the wonder of what can come. The enthusiasm that the Bush Foundation has for you, encouraging you to be expansive and do for yourself to become a greater you. To better yourself to be able to pursue your goals. This planning part is a gift you can give yourself, plot this map for yourself, and execute yourself. What have you always wanted to learn, experience, discuss, you have the tools to make that happen. Plan this out, talk with your family, partner, friends and ask for advice, the things you hadn’t thought of will come to you.

Make time to meditate, listen to yourself and your body. Work out, take care of yourself, because if you don’t take care of yourself how can you continue to do all this great work that got you here. Invest this time into yourself, your family, your marriage and partnership right now and rebuild that support for your life. Reignite what you may have been to busy to attend to, smell the roses for a minute because you’ll only have a minute. This time is fleeting. Remember during this period that you are the priority.

Writing this down is a great exercise to remind myself that I am the priority during this time. The trips I want to take to explore people's achievements in like interests to reinforce that these dreams I have to bring better tools for my community are achievable, real and concrete. The self-care I need to practice is vital to achieving my goals and pulling together people.
Bring others along that care to work toward like goals, share your ideas and vision and lessen the load.

I have a tendency to believe that only I can push these pebbles down the road, but they gain weight, purpose and broaden to be impactful. You are going to need help and be open to it, open to new thoughts and adjustments to your vision. For that vision is to help your people and community, your community will help themselves once they see the benefit. It’s kind of why you're a fellow, make yourself stronger and smarter during this time to make change happen.