I have been extremely surprised about how closely connected my leadership development is to my personal growth and development. This of course is not anything new to me and is actually the entire reason I applied for the Bush fellowship in the first place- to explore and grow my connection between my personal & cultural identity, civic leadership and spirituality. But the part that has come as such a surprise to me is the level the personal and spiritual play in being foundational to the leadership aspect of my work.
A part of my leadership learning with the fellowship has been more technical and logistical, focused on learning the different roles and parts of being mayor, practicing them and getting more comfortable…running the meetings, learning more about the roles and responsibilities, communications, public speaking, etc. With the fellowship I’ve been able to tap great resources such as former mayors and exceptional consultants that have helped me think through leadership strategy, navigate crisis communications and sharpen my skills. All of those things have been extremely helpful and feel like more traditional types of leadership support.
What I’ve realized and learned to date is that while these types of learnings and development of skills are important, once you get them down, it’s pretty intuitive and straight forward and that the real leadership tension, growth and development is all about digging deeper thank you ever thought possible from within to become clearer on who you are as a person, how you respond in crisis, the patterns and responses you revert to under stress, how you show up and shine when you are really living in your authenticity and what your growing edges are. It all feels very much like “getting back to the basics”, stripping everything away, all the distractions, all external factors and just getting to your core of who you are, how you function, what makes you tick and inspires you to be bold. So much of my fellowship work has been deeply reflective and in many ways extremely encouraging for myself and I hope for others, because I now that doing this deep internal work does not require any money. It requires the will, desire and time to be intentional about noticing how you operate, being willing to ask yourself difficult and reflective questions and experimenting with tools such as communication, journaling and action that can help you explore these learning edges and the uncomfortable, let go of unhelpful coping mechanisms and develop new, healthier and more powerful ways of being in the word.