Learning journey, what does that really mean? How do we explain or share this so-called learning journey with a new Bush Fellow? In my eyes, we are talking about life and the process of living. Each day there are many opportunities to learn and grow. The million-dollar question is, Have you slowed down enough to pay attention to those opportunities. Since starting the Bush Fellowship, I have made an intentional commitment to do exactly that, slow down. I will be the first to share that it is not easy, but once you start doing it, you will wonder how you have not incorporated it thus far. I will share with you a few takeaways to slowing down that has assisted me in my first few months of this learning journey; they come from the Five D’s of a successful mind:
1. To be Driven
2. To be Deliberate
3. To be Dedicated
4. To be Determined
5. To be Disciplined
The first thing in slowing down is your ability to be Driven, which means what is your goal or desired outcome you want to achieve. For me it was about giving myself time to reflect on the many opportunities and experiences I was gaining through my work as well as the Bush Fellowship. All too often, we move with such a sense of urgency to get things accomplished that we rarely allow ourselves the time to reflect. Affording myself the space and time has been of great benefit because now I know from the learning, what made it vital and I have been able to generate new innovative ideas to sustain the work.
Now that your drive is in place the next component is being Deliberate, a synonym of intentional. What will you do to ensure that you get time and space. Because we all have busy lives and are pulled in multiple directions, we have to set aside time. For me, what is scheduled in my calendar gets the attention. I allotted time in my calendar specifically for reflection. Placing this in my calendar eliminated the need to try to fit it in, but created the importance of having it in.
Dedication is critical to the success of anything you want to accomplish and slowing down for reflection is no different. What tends to occur is that we will be good at allotting time for a few days or even a week, but somewhere down the line, we forget about the practice and it becomes a routine that we soon forget. The way to approach this has been to place this time in different parts of my calendar. Having it, every morning at a certain time for me started good, but then I got use to that routine and in my brilliant mind (JK) I figured out that I had an additional 10-15 minutes on certain days. It is similar to those of us who set our clocks ten minutes fast.
As with anything, there will be obstacles that will appear in the road to your desired outcome. How will you be Determined not to let those road blocks take you off your course. With so many competing interest on any given day, it is a miracle we ever get things done. What has worked in my first few months has been the creation of having others block for me. What I mean by this is allowing others to know what you are going to accomplish so that they can assist in moving things out of your way. The team that I am grateful to work with, has been instrumental by continuously checking in and asking me have I taken my time this week to reflect and if there were things in the way, they found ways to reschedule and or figure them out on their own.
Finally, we reach the ability to be Disciplined, which is a foundational attribute in setting our minds to becoming accomplished. Approaching this with a healthy thought of balance in mind has been helpful knowing that we have to be realistic in our approach. In some instances, we attempt to make large-scale changes in our ways and actions that ultimately can negatively influence our desired outcome. Understanding who you are and what is realistic for yourself is essential in sustaining a new practice. As I mentioned earlier, I started setting aside 10-15 minutes a couple of times per week to get myself use to the practice and in subsequent weeks increased to 30 minutes.
In closing, my Bush Fellowship learning journey has started with learning about slowing down and giving myself permission to do so. Being in the K-12 educational field, we are strong advocates of people being lifelong learners. However, it is very rare for us to be deliberate about setting the necessary time aside for us to live up to that theory. By taking the time for my own personal growth, it has exponentially been of great benefit to my thoughtful approach to the work.