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Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

The Journey - Tools, Inspiration and Connecting

by Kirsty Marlow, Infrastructure Alliance Manager, Downer New Zealand

So, writing helps me to galvanise my thoughts. And as I reflect on the first retreat of the 2017 Cohorts journey, I am awake and alive with not just thoughts, but ideas, joy, fears, trepidation, the whole gamut of emotions. In the days prior I had wondered what I might have in common with the group I was about to encounter. What was it I could add? What might I be able to take away? How awful and confronting might it be? As it was, my experience was like nothing I’ve encountered before in “this sort of space”. So where did the start of the journey take me?

Quite overwhelming for me was to meet people who, through what they do, have a positive and direct impact on the vulnerable in society. This is quite a big thing for me to wrap my head around. My initial reaction was “You guys do stuff that matters. What I do doesn’t matter”. But I’ve turned that round in to a question; “How do I ensure that what I do, right now and in the future, matters?” This is the year for the big questions, and that’s OK.

Louise challenged us with a light inquiry… What world view do you have about how life works and the place of humanity? I groaned audibly… I wasn’t the only one… I eventually figured I don’t really know what my world view is, or rather, I don’t really know how I can meet the world and do good, without becoming a do-gooder. This is the subject of ongoing inquiry, and I suspect will be for some time.

And from a very practical and totally applicable to the workplace perspective, I learned that the things that really needle me about other people, are likely to be things I either do myself to others, do to myself, or want to do but can’t. I also learned that if I see something that I really admire in another person, I probably have in within me to be like that. That gives me hope.

To our speakers. You. Guys. Rock. “Never change your mind, but change your mind a thousand times before you make it up” was courtesy of the first. Am I too quick to yank my flag up the mast sometimes? Oh yes. To hear of a life lived so honestly, so fully, and without compromise, blew me away. “Be comfortable being lost”, courtesy of the second. This is a really powerful concept for me to contemplate, as the expectation that the leader is all seeing/knowing/doing pervades. We were told, find your own space and step in to it, and then create a space where talented people can shine. I was and remain inspired.

I am awash with gratitude for this amazing opportunity. I’ve met 35 other wonderful, interesting people and we are, I know, collectively excited and nervous as we head out on this journey together. Some of you, I have already formed connections with; I have discovered what it is that makes me and you, us. For others of us, that’s still to come. And I wholeheartedly look forward to that time.

For me, the next wee while will be the continuation of that inquiry regarding my views on and interface with the world; my Pepeha, which has already evoked childhood memories that I almost forgot, and to get a ten day streak on the Headspace App! Team, as Louise tells us, go to your learning edges, as that where the growth will happen. So that’s where I’m going.

Until the next time, Faifai lēmū.