Report date
November 2020
Learning Log

Being a Bush Fellow has been one of the most amazing professional development opportunities of my life. Not only has it created space for intentionality, access, and opportunity to cultivate and grow leadership, but it has encouraged me to remove the perceived silo of separation between myself and my leadership role. The more I seek leadership growth, the more I find opportunities to find myself and that has been the most affirming aspect contributing to my leadership growth so far. However, I have also discovered that growth is not always achieved in constant pursuit of something external, but sometimes it is best achieved in the internal silence and stillness of self.

My leadership journey prior to my Fellowship has largely consisted of over-ambition without much regard to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I have always attributed the imbalance as necessary for success, and mostly, survival. However, through my Fellowship journey I have discovered that my insatiable ambition was more likely a maladaptive coping mechanism to address trauma. As a lifelong over-achiever, I have discovered that I spent much of my career trying to prove my personal and professional worth to someone or something other than myself. As a woman of color advocating on behalf of my community, I found myself advocating tirelessly to my own detriment. When I was at what I considered to be the emotional depletion of my professional career, I discovered that the heart of my vocation was me. I want prosperity for my community so much that I falsely believed that it could be achieved with enough of my own personal sacrifice. It was during this time that I was awarded the amazing opportunity of the Bush Fellowship and my journey toward liberation and reclamation became more intentional, reflective, and introspective.

Through my Fellowship journey I have learned that community prosperity is a byproduct of collective individual prosperity. Since this seemingly obvious realization, I am discovering the power and divinity of my own being and recognizing ways of preserving and cultivating it to influence and sustain my leadership. I have found the process of reflection and introspection to be both healing and challenging as it requires me to apply focus and attention to myself and what I am able to control rather than always seeking global solutions. This awareness has also made me more consciously aware of the physiological signals that help me to determine how I should proceed with situations (e.g. increase or decrease momentum, be gentler with my being, seek additional resources, or step away to regroup) and effectively helps me be more realistic with my capabilities and boundaries. As a result, I have become more intuitive of the needs of others and have been more sensitive to the fact that we are humans first and our interpersonal connections as human beings are essential to the nourishment of our spirits. I have found that I am most confident, creative, and innovative in my leadership when I am honoring my being as the fire that fuels my leadership.

As my Fellowship journey continues to unfold and expose paths toward becoming more self-aware and self-loving, I am consequently reaping the rewards of a newfound sense of peace and freedom of being. When I understand and am attentive to my internal needs, I can approach leadership more vulnerably and authentically. In this way I believe that self-care is the most integral aspect of sustaining leadership.