To the Self-Consciousness holding me back,

You can never guarantee the direction the winds will take you.

Just like the shifting breeze, I too am changing my course. I will seek new experiences — ones that I can see a future with, with a mindset that won’t keep me from achieving my goals and being the kind of person I strive to be. Yes, we have a lot of history together, and I appreciate how you’ve shielded me from those hurtful and saddening moments. That will never change. Yet people do, and it was only after my case clinic in Lisa Grocott’s Transforming Mindsets studio class that I realized how large the gap is between who I am now and who I aspire to be.

For me, the case clinic exercise marked the first step in this new direction. As challenging as the process was and how vulnerable it made me feel, I found it liberating to finally voice my concerns to others and visualize what is holding me back from achieving my full potential. In my case clinic I recounted how, underneath the persona I present in the Transdisciplinary Design program, I would constantly think about my reputation and how others saw me. That was your influence, Self-Consciousness. I would avoid taking on risky leadership roles due to my fear of failure, and would dread the difficulties associated with taking ownership and responsibility.

I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders as I recounted my narrative to the case clinic group. Afterwards, I started picturing a future where I could accept that not every outcome will be a good one; that my most valuable lessons would come from embracing challenges, especially ones that lay outside my comfort zone. Whether it being a supporting character in a play, a celebrity trying to hide behind sunglasses or a bird struggling to take flight, the images that everyone shared had a common thread: a depiction of apprehension and struggle. Yet, they all expressed hope, capability, and optimism — an underlying belief that I can, and will, be able to overcome it through my own efforts.

My sketch of a goose taking off, as Kevin described.

As Isa remarked at the end of the session, “Taking flight doesn’t just refer to making progress; it also refers to being free.” And with that, I felt hope; hope that I actually have the potential to progress, to move forward, and to take that initial leap into uncertainty.

The semester has gone by so fast, and sometimes I forget about the promises I have made to myself about taking on responsibilities, challenges and risks. It is far too easy, safe, and comfortable to fall back into the relationship we once had, Self-Consciousness. I know that change is hard, and the ties between us will always remain no matter what paths we take. However, I can only go so far if I remain on the sidelines due to my fears.

In the past few weeks, I’ve said “yes” to more opportunities and challenges that I ever have before. And as I try to open myself to new situations, I’ve learned from interacting with my peers that leadership shows itself in many forms. With the work that we’ve done in the TransD program as well as in the performance gym, I realize that the process of becoming a leader involves defining what leadership is through my own words and actions. But that’s something that I will never be able to achieve, Self-Consciousness, if we remain together as we always have.

Know that I will always cherish the lessons you’ve taught me. I owe myself and who I am today to your influence. But rather than staying stuck in the past, I yearn to take off and fly free; to now change my course, and take a shot at leading the flock towards a new future.

I hope that you too may find your purpose, and wish you the best wherever the winds take you.

With all my love,
Winnie