Arriving in Cavan, Ireland at the start of the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference, I set a personal goal; to live in moment and ‘feel’ Nuffield.
The description of my life; husband, father, turkey farmer, banker and now 2016 Nuffield Scholar and all of the above, although impressive to some, it is a constant balancing act and at times a struggle. Life is full of goal setting, planning and executing. Some would ask why or how do you do it? But for me, it is just my life; I love challenges, tackling goals and proving to people that I can attack and accomplish the desired results and making sure my fulfilment of their expectations are met.
Nuffield as different, it is not just about writing the report or giving the final presentation, it is about the living the program, not just accomplishing it. Our conference facilitators made it clear, we would stretch our beliefs and understanding of ourselves.
In a room full of 75 strangers where I would prefer to sit with my back to the wall, observe, judge and then strategically decide who I might go and connect; this approach was blasted away in a mere minute at the conference. We were all tasked with mapping out our lives, full of high points, low points, and everywhere in between. These events, known as turning points were then shared in small peer to peer groups. It stretched my personal boundaries, of being unemotional, tactile, and direct. Talking to strangers about my life made me uncomfortable and vulnerable; but it worked. The exercise in the end, forced the entire room of scholars to realize we all have a back story and needed to trust our fellow Nuffield Scholars.
It was clear, the first day was to be spent on introspection, refection and determining our personal path was charted by events along our journey of life. In the end, bigger questions about our Nuffield experience which lied ahead were asked:
What does Nuffield expect of me as a Leader? What do I expect of myself? What actions am I committed to for myself? What actions will I stop doing?
Although questioning goals for Nuffield may be personal in nature, the facilitators continually press all scholars to use a method known as cooperative thinking to engage and share with others and focus communication with peers at all times. The second day wrapped with an interactive activity confirming that I am ‘The Analyzer’, one who does not particularly do well with emotional people; this will come as no surprise to many, I am sure.
This awareness of people, thinking more positively, being conscious of others personality or their own back story will allow us today, and in the future to engage, function and develop as leaders in our community.
As a person that is always focussed and determined, I am convinced that Ireland was meant to host my Contemporary Scholars Conference. It has been an environment which has put me at ease with my peers, allowed a group of 75 strangers to find commonality and truly start friendships for life. Perhaps it has been the Irish hospitality and a pint of Guinness at the end of the day where we all come together as a group to laugh and solve a few of global agricultures problems.
So as peers, business owners, clients, friends, I encourage you, set a goal that you might not otherwise consider, but in setting the goal, understand that perhaps the journey is as important as the goal itself.