Although I’ve always had a penchant for global travel and throwing myself into new experiences, when I moved to New York City in June to be a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow to work with The Resolution Project as a Program Coordinator, I was more than a little nervous. What have I gotten myself into? I wondered as I stepped off the subway and into Grand Central Station on my first day of work. Six months later I find myself struggling to explain the profound change that I have undergone (and will undoubtedly continue to undergo) throughout my Fellowship year. As a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow, I have already learned many things, but none of them more important than the art of giving myself grace.
I started at Resolution during the busiest time in the organization’s history. The Resolution Project was started ten years ago to fund and support a global community of young social entrepreneurs. Within two weeks of starting, I was told that I would help organize and lead the very first global convening of Fellows in what became the Solutions Exchange Summit (SolEx). It was clear, from then on, that this year would be an incredible learning experience. I am so grateful to be placed at an organization that aligns so much with my values and interests. As an International Relations major with a particular passion for providing young people with opportunities to succeed, this could not be a better match. That being said, the past several months have been incredibly challenging. Despite encouragement from my workplace and NOF Fellows cohort, I faced a seemingly insurmountable hurdle: myself.
I have always been an overachiever and a perfectionist. In a fast-paced city full of models and millionaires, it is easy to feel inadequate. Soon after starting my Fellowship, I began to question my decisions, skills, and capabilities. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome. Additionally, as the months wore on, I grew increasingly homesick. I listened to the little voice inside my head that told me I wasn’t good enough and became isolated and unhappy. Thankfully, I have an incredible support system in my family, friends, and cohort. As I reached out and explained my struggles, I was reminded of the importance of giving yourself grace. Self-grace is a concept often touted yet rarely embraced. I used to think that it meant loving yourself in spite of your flaws, but I have come to realize that it truly means loving yourself because of your flaws.
My Fellowship year has almost reached its halfway point and I am loving the work I do at Resolution more every day. I am living my life with a new intentionality towards giving myself grace and fully embracing wabi-sabi (a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life). While I am sure that the next six months will have their fair share of challenges, I plan to approach every obstacle with determination, confidence, and a great deal of self-grace.
By Emma Jackson – NOF Fellow at The Resolution Project, New York, NY