Put yourself in the shoes of a new Fellow and talk about your learning journey.
What can you really expect starting as a new Bush Fellow? The journey of the application, interview, and selection processes brought on a spectrum of emotions: excitement, nervousness, hopefulness, fear, and happiness to name a few. The process forces you to really clarify not only your vision of the amazing projects you are working on, but to really define how you can balance the thill and intensity of the work required to accomplish your goals, but to also lay out the structure to move through this phase in life with intention to become sustainable on a work / life balance.
The processes and prestige of being a Bush Fellow obviously has it’s amazing perks, but it also forces you to really set aside time for deep introspection. Understanding that a commonality between Bush Fellows will be a passionate drive to see their dreams become reality, and to really understand the amount of stress and work it takes to get there. So it really becomes imperative that as a Fellow, you begin see your whole life as your journey, and to reflect on what your success may look like for the loved ones near you who support and witness your hard work. Finding time to balance the passion of work, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important step as we transition into really impactful leadership.
My own experience coming from the hospitality industry, a workplace that even the top restaurant owners of the world struggle to find a happy balance for themselves, let alone their employees. I’ve been a chef for many, many years, and know all too well how hard it is to survive with a work ethic driven by passion and creativity, working the longest hours, anticipating chaos and problems at every moment, the toxic environments created by untrained management, working paycheck to paycheck with very little hope for financial advancement, and attempting a healthy family life at home. I feel blessed that I was able to continue to develop my skills, and my vision to see a path out of that to really begin to create something that has the possibility of truly impacting many communities in need.
Being a Bush Fellow as really helped to open up a new tool-set to see myself, and my work in a whole new light as I develop into a leader I could only hope to be. Finding the balance of healthy lifestyle sustainability along with passionate hard work, and becoming that role model for other employees and colleagues to follow is of utmost importance. It is really stressed to find ways that you are utilizing the financial support that comes with honor of being a Bush Fellow for thoughtful self care to begin those steps toward true health.
It’s really about taking the time to reflect not only on your past and the accomplishments, and failures you may have had, but also to focus deeply on the path ahead, and to walk with the confidence that we can accomplish the work our heart desires, and maintain happiness and wholesomeness with your family, and most importantly yourself.
Another amazing advantage to expect about your time being a Bush fellow, is to have the chance to really embrace the amazing network of visionaries, thought leaders, and the vast amount of experience that becomes available to you. We all unique visions of the wonderful work we want to accomplish and are eager for the chance to prove ourselves as leaders, but to have the network to connect with so many leaders who have come before, and to have opportunities to listen to their journeys, their reflections, and learn from those experiences is such and invaluable resource. So many past Bush Fellows are more than happy to find the time to help people begin their own journeys and to openly share relevant advice. These are networks we can carry with us long past our time in the fellowship.
I believe that anybody who advances to claim the title of a Bush Fellow, will be greatly rewarded not only financially, but also, by gaining the experiences needed to become a truly effective leader through self reflection and the realizations of changes needed from within to guide those that follow you. The connections, experience, and advice gained from the amazing group of people at the Bush Foundation on top of the current and past fellows is humbling and inspirational. I urge any new fellow to truly take advantage of all that being a Bush Fellow has to offer and gain the wisdom of being an effective leader so you may pass it on to the next generation.
Pilamaye + Miigwetch…. -Sean Sherman