Reflections from an Institute Grad: One Year Later

On the 7th day of each month we pause to reflect on the Institute program and celebrate #Day7. Yesterday we highlighted Vincent and today we are sharing Clivane’s experiences as part of our three-part series.

Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you c14454624_10202111450625326_506103449_nan only connect them looking backwards…” Let’s look backward, shall we?

It’s been one year since I graduated the 2015 Institute at York University. I’ve had 365 Day 7s since then. I’ve kept in touch with 1-2 members of my cluster family, and a couple of other individuals as well. My core values – empowerment, loyalty, creativity, hard work and leadership – remain the same.  My GAG, to embrace vulnerability, became my #OneWord365 for 2016.

I also became an intern at LeaderShape. As a LeaderShape Intern, the marketing and community engagement work I do keeps me connected to LeaderShape’s vision, mission and daily work. And when I had the opportunity this past July to help prepare for one of the national sessions of the Institute, everything hit me full circle.

Now I wish I could tell you that the dots all began to connect… but they didn’t. In fact, after spending a week in Champaign preparing for the national sessions, it was like my first Day 7 all over again!

It was like Day 7 all over again.  

I started to think about my cluster family, my vision, my stretch goals, the risks I have taken,  the vulnerability I have shown, the things I have learned about myself and others since my first Day 7. While the momentum after the Institute may have waned, the importance of living in possibility and creating real, positive change has not.

My year after the Institute has been the most emotional, eye-opening and challenging year of my life. But now I can begin to connect the dots going backwards. The Institute was the catalyst I needed to embrace vulnerability. I struggled with it over 6 days (hence, the reason vulnerability was my GAG), but little did I know what a vital tool it would be in the months afterwards. With vulnerability, I found the courage to share a story about a loved one and mental illness. Sharing that story created positive change for others. Talk about a ripple effect – and it had nothing to do with my vision created at the Institute!

tumblr_nzm86aaudc1v00mydo1_500

So here’s what I have to say. If you’re an Institute grad and you’re having a rough year in your personal life, your vision has become unclear, you’ve lost connection with your cluster family, or accomplishing your manageable goals is taking longer than you anticipated – it’s Day 7 again.

Live each day with a healthy disregard for the impossible. Read through your Institute manual. Check in with your cluster family. Celebrate your small victories. Reevaluate your goals. Get that ripple of positive change re-started.

There’s a final line to the Steve Jobs quote that began this blog post. Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

Let’s look forward, shall we?

Let’s live in possibility, my friends.

One thought on “Reflections from an Institute Grad: One Year Later

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s