By Jo Treasure, Cowra, NSW
Having returned home and officially entered back into the throws of everyday life, I find myself thinking of the ARLP every day. One of the overarching learnings I picked up throughout the program was the confidence to say ‘no’ and an ability to care for myself enough to not always be aiming for the pinnacle of being everything to everybody.
Between sessions, I found myself slipping back into old habits, taking a bit too much on and finding myself incredibly stressed and resentful about both the pace at which I was living my life and my inability to ‘get it right’. The New Zealand session was a game-changer in this respect. The pace at which the Māori and to a lesser extent, Pākehā (Māori term for white inhabitant of New Zealander) in New Zealand live their lives stood out to me. Introductions were slow and conversations were long. It may sound cliché, but the ‘vibe’ was different. I loved the notion of taking in your surroundings, getting to know people deeply and stopping to appreciate the things you’ve worked hard for, rather than just lurching into the next task.
Throughout the ‘Leading for Wellbeing and Performance under Pressure’ workshop with Elizabeth McNaughton from Hummingly, disjointed thoughts and underlying feelings of frustration were plucked out, mashed together and then laid out neatly at the forefront of my mind. When Elizabeth posed the question ‘are you a martyr or a professional?’, I felt quite emotional, as though I was in therapy, and even feel so now as I write this down. To use the ARLF’s terminology, it was an ‘a-ha!’ moment for me.
I was exhausted by the time we arrived in Melbourne, and although I was ready to go home, I found it difficult to come to grips with the idea that in a year’s time, I won’t be jetting off on a two-week session, seeing my friends in the cohort, checking-in with my leadership goals and having time to reflect, unincumbered by the stresses of work and life. To cement all my learnings, I fell ill with the flu upon my arrival at home. If my body was a vehicle, all the lights were flashing on the dash.
I haven’t made any enormous changes (some members of my cohort have changed roles and/or moved towns based on their experiences on program), but I have made multiple small ones which are already having an enormous impact on my wellbeing, and ultimately, my ability to really be ‘in it’ or ‘present and invested’ when the next big challenge comes along.
I would like to express my gratitude to the ARLF and sponsor, the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, for giving me the opportunity to experience something so unique and precious as time for reflection. That knowledge is something that I am privileged to possess.
The ARLP is underpinned by the practices of Experiential Learning.
The ARLF’s experiential learning method is adapted from the work of David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle.
Experiential Learning recognises that the absorption of transferable information that is read or heard will not change your life in the way that action will. If it is to really stick, then discussing it and sharing it with others will expand this learning.
Ideally, diverse participant cohorts engage in a series of challenge-based activities at a range of intensities, settings and scale – individual, small groups, local, national and international. These activities are intended to create mental discomfort or cognitive dissonance to challenge people’s existing self-referential frameworks and mental models. The program then places theoretical frameworks and models before the participants so they can interpret, with the group, what just happened. They also reflect individually and in small groups to test and change their leadership behaviour. They are then challenged again and their new framework is tested and reflected upon. This is a continuous process.
Applications for Course 31 of the ARLP open on 1 June 2023. To recommend someone for the program or to submit an EOI visit our website.