Updated: Feb 25, 2019
“Leadership is a wild beautiful journey. It is dangerous and fun. You’re going to be exhausted, tested. You’re going to go to the jagged edges of your potential, but it is the most beautiful way to spend the rest of your life.”
- Robin Sharma, Author & Leadership Expert.
In these early days of the Executive Masters of Natural Resources Program at Virginia Tech, my fellow classmates and I are getting to know ourselves and one another, perhaps in ways we had not considered upon entering this program. We are learning ways to build trust as we establish working relationships towards our common goal which is to learn and grow as sustainability leaders.
At this point we have learned a lot about effective ways to embrace conflict, while respecting each other’s vulnerability and personal freedoms. Through individual and teamwork we are beginning to develop mechanisms for problem-solving by exploring our rider (those aspects of our personality that drive decision making) and our elephant, the other part of character that justifies the things we do whether right or wrong. In understanding how one relates to the other we seek to find common ground in how we approach problem-solving.
Who are you and why are you here?
The issues impacting our world are vast and complex. Earth continues to expand and draw on it’s natural resources. Sustainability professionals must balance approaches towards improving our living for a better today, what we leave for, and how we impact future generations.
Our precious Earth is ever evolving. As individuals we should be constantly learning and growing with it. Don’t look at me and ask, are you a singer, writer, actress, business woman, entrepreneur or whatever? I’ll will proudly respond that I am all of those things and more, why be just one when life has so much to offer and the world needs so much. Beyond knowing who we are, we should also consider our place in this world in relation to those around us.
So who are you and why are you here? What do you want? What are your motives. These questions may leave you stumped for a moment - they did for me when I first heard them. After giving it a bit of thought I was perplexed for a while as voices from my past echoed inside my mind - memories of being taunted by classmates and later peers in my professional life who would at times say to me, “Girl, you ain’t all that.” Without fail, the natural response to this introspection is to wonder, well how can I be all these things?
To thyself be true
Much of our personality is built upon the things we heard or learned as children. It is likely that growing up, your parents or some other well-meaning adult in your life said things to like “it’s better to be a window, than a door, meaning you’re blocking my view,” or "don't let the door hit you on your way out," meaning you can leave but once you're gone you're out of here.
Undoubtedly we can find humor in some of the things we heard during our childhood, but we may have also heard things that brought about hurt or confusion. Revisiting those childhood moments may bring about memories that evoke nostalgia or a myriad of various emotions.
In the context of enhancing leadership skills it is interesting to consider how the words of our past play into the ways in which we show up in our work and develop interpersonal relationships. Those past experiences may also impact our decision making relative to how we identify as individuals and determine what level of service, if any, we seek to provide as sustainability leaders.
Embracing a New Reality
Living a beautifully inspired life is my mantra. In going back to school I am putting tangibility to my desire to make the world a better place. More than just saying, beyond hoping and dreaming about it, I am actively pursuing this passion.
After taking almost a year and a half to figure out the who, what and why of my existence, I am grateful to be embracing a new reality. It took a while, but I had to get real with myself about the ways in which I am growing as a person, and embrace what truly matters to me at this stage in my life.
The #BlackGreenGirl #SustainabilitySeries #XMNR2019 series. is a snapshot of my experience at Virginia Tech's Executive Masters of Natural Resources Program, highlighting various aspects of the learning experience. I must say that I am very proud of myself for taking this step forward. I can’t wait to change the world!
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