This is a bittersweet entry for me…reflecting on our last LMV program day. All that’s left is our project presentation and graduation. What a journey this has been! It was undeniably one of my favorite days, very interactive and engaging.
Our day started at the ARC, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, a fitting location for the theme of our day: Human Services. Inspired Life Coach Rebeccah Silence led our class on a personal, introspective journey focused on leadership. In a smaller group setting with our project team members, we each opened up about our thoughts, fears, and inner feelings about leadership. Being with our project team members, with whom we have had more opportunity to become close and comfortable, enabled us to feel more comfortable opening up. I was nervous that people would not be comfortable sharing personal feelings and being vulnerable in this setting, but Rebeccah asked appropriately probing questions, and kept it within the scope of leadership and business. It worked well.
I’m inherently a very introspective and honest person, so this was a great exercise for me. I was happy to see it work well for others, too. It’s interesting, because I’m not usually the one to speak up first. I typically listen to others, and process what’s been said. Then only if there is really something new to add, do I interject. For this exercise, I was one of the first to engage in our group.
One great takeaway for me was a new way to think about obstacles. When you meet an obstacle along the way to your goal, don’t interpret it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. The obstacle is a test of our commitment. If we are not truly committed, we will give up on the goal. Maybe it was the wrong goal for us. When we are fully committed to the goal set and our whole heart is in it, we will push past any obstacles that present themselves. If you back away from the obstacle, then perhaps that goal was not the right goal for you. That is okay. Start looking for the right one.
The day also brought a fun surprise as we headed to Art & Vine for a painting exercise. We all received the very same instructions to paint the very same painting, yet each of us produced a version that was “uniquely our own.” It was a great visual for seeing that everyone tackles projects differently, yielding different results as we each approach it with our own skills and perspectives. It was also a great lesson in collaboration, seeing how people learn from one another and share ideas, and seeing how a possible mistake could be redirected and adjusted to be made beautiful. Then it got interesting…
Once we were done, we were asked to move and work on a new painting—one that was not our own. You’ve put all this work into your painting, making choices and doing it your way. And now you have to turn this over to someone else. Will they enhance your painting or will they wreck it? You have to trust that they will do the best they can and add value. And now, you too have to touch someone else’s work. Do you see the direction they were going in and take the same path? Or do you add your own flare? Really a great metaphor for multi-layer projects with a team of participants in the real world.
Finally, we visited the Root Farm. What an impressive facility this is. I was amazed at the progress, and so proud that something like this exists right in my home town of Sauquoit. It was really cool to see how much they’ve done to allow for both the able-bodied, and those with disabilities, to enjoy their experience at the farm. The animal therapy and connectedness to nature made me feel right at home there. I gained some inspiration to take back to our Children’s Museum project.
Often on a program day, a group gathers after the day is done. I don’t always attend, but as it was our last program day, I really felt the desire to keep the day going. I found myself not wanting it to end. There was a different energy, as we felt this chapter coming to a close. I realized that while this was an extension of work for me and included additional responsibilities and projects, it was also nice to be a student again, to learn and to be inspired. I will miss it, and I will want to make sure I continue to find my own avenues to be inspired. I hope our connections continue, and I look forward to seeing our project through to completion. After funding is secured, I’d like to volunteer to make our vision of the space come to life.
Regarding our project: it’s just about complete. We have our final plan in place, with final schematics to present. Now we just have to ensure we appropriately communicate our ideas on Graduation Day. That is the morning we deliver our presentation. We’re ready, and just adding the final touches.
The LMV program has proven to be a wonderful self-discovery opportunity for me, pulling resting concepts from the back of my mind to the forefront, where they can now be active. LMV has made me realize that now is the time to make positive changes, to make real lifestyle adjustments I’ll be able to carry through moving forward.
LMV was the perfect companion for me as I ended up on an unplanned tandem journey—through LMV and through my work at First Source. At the beginning of LMV, my work role was focused on day-to-day work and procedural needs. At LMV I was learning what it takes to be innovative and develop a vision of the future. Simultaneously, my role at First Source was changing to a more innovative role. It’s rewarding, and what I learned at LMV has helped me with that transition. It’s still daunting, but it’s a welcome challenge.
I’ve always been analytic, focusing on how I can do things differently, and better. So this is not necessarily new. However, I now have new tools, tangible examples to draw from. My world view is bigger. Through our project, I have a true sense of ownership. If it weren’t for LMV, I wouldn’t have known I could help the Children’s Museum’s outdoor space, or discovered the treasure that is the Root Farm. These are places where I can see my family getting involved and volunteering together. I look forward to sharing this with them.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager, LMV Participant