This fellowship journey began almost six months ago. If I were able to go back and talk to myself and the other newly awarded fellowship recipients, there are a few things I would share based on my experiences thus far. The first part of my learning journey I would share is to pay attention to the little things along the way. This journey does not have to be about going big for everyone. Each person will have their own journey that is important to themselves. The little things along this journey has made a difference for myself, my community, and with those in my circle. Recognizing and acknowledging the subtle changes and small successes has allowed me to gain confidence as I learn and grow, step out of my comfort zone and pushing others to to do the same, develop an understanding of my leadership team to recognize strengths and bring the best out of them, and most importantly, developing and maintaining relationships as a team leader. Recently, these small successes provided a very successful outcome for the hospital and clinics I work with. My successes became successes for the team I lead and the communities I serve.
The next part of this learning journey I would like to share is to embrace the challenges. I have a lot of leadership experience. I have been in leadership roles for many years. However, I came to realize that I had gaps in my experiences and leadership knowledge. In order to build a strong structure, you must begin with building a strong foundation. My foundation had cracks to fill and I have started filling in those small cracks to reinforce and build that strong foundation for myself to improve as a community leader. Going back to the classroom after 30 years was a challenge. I overcame the challenge and proved to myself that this old gal still has what it takes. I will be on to the larger cracks as I move through this fellowship journey.
You don't have to be accomplished and successful by the end of the fellowship journey and have a list of outstanding accomplishments. The fellowship experience allows for growth and development to work towards becoming an accomplished and successful leader after the fellowship journey ends. I had to work at slowing down, enjoying the moment and not focus on writing a book, saving a community, or becoming famous by the end of my two year fellowship journey. I have worked at taking one experience at a time. There has been a month or two when I felt like I didn't accomplish much. The monthly reflections allow me to think about even the smallest of changes and successes that is happening because of the opportunity I have been given through this fellowship.
The plan you submitted may change slightly or it may change a lot and that is to be expected. If I were to follow exactly what I planned, I may not get the most out of this journey because reality has a way of making the obvious more clear. How could you possibly know where this journey will lead you? As an example, I included in my plan as part of self care to drive to Bismarck which is 75 miles away twice a week to meet with a wellness coach to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The reality became obvious, this part of my plan became unrealistic, and I was setting myself up for failure. I had to reevaluate and explore a better option for this self care activity. I decided to purchase a piece of equipment that allows a monthly membership fee to work with coaches built into the equipment. I didn't know this type of technology existed. I informed the Bush Fellowship team of my changes and received feedback on how to proceed. This change in my self care plan is more realistic and will give me a better opportunity to succeed. There may be other opportunities that come my way in the next 18 months that will allow for a more successful journey and I will evaluate each one as they come.
Make the most out of your leadership coach experience. I feel the need to stress the importance of the previous statement loud and clear. I must confess, when I learned that we were required to have a leadership coach, I was very skeptical. I am old school and a very social person with face to face experiences where I am able to have eye contact, read facial expressions, and see what they look like while making a connection. I thought I wouldn't need a leadership coach because I felt I could be a leadership coach. The leadership coaching experience has been very successful for me and continues to be more successful with each month that I meet with my coach. The leadership coach and myself spend time reflecting on the previous month. With these coaching sessions I have gained some connections to some valuable leadership tools. I look forward to the time I spend with my coach. It has become very valuable to me for reflection, guidance and assists me with realty checks and keeping me focused on my plans.
Life may get in the way at times but jump back into it without looking back. Keep moving forward. I have been through some of the most challenging experiences the past three months. Each experience has taught me something I didn't know prior. I came to realize that they happened for a reason and have most recently have been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will carry on a wiser, and stronger person having made it through these challenges. I am now better prepared for the new year.