Elise Willer-June 2018-Concord,MA

Elise Willer-June 2018-Concord,MA

Every morning on my way to the office, I pass this sign. “Entering Concord”, it reads, and every morning I am reminded that this is real. That for the next year, I will be an Insight Fellow, working with some of the best minds in the field of conflict management and effective communication.

But what does it mean to be a Fellow?

I’ll probably spend the next year thinking about that, but as I reflect on the beginning of my year, one thing has become clear to me – being a fellow is an opportunity to readjust the lens through which I view my life. This will be a year where every choice I make comes with the question: why?  What interests will a decision meet? Could I brainstorm other ways of meeting those interests? How can I make it bigger, and better, and grander by finding an option that meets multiple interests?

How do I get the most out of any situation while improving my relationships with others?

The Insight Fellowship begins with three months in historic Concord, Massachusetts. During these beginning months, I’ll dig into conflict management theory, observing (and sometimes even presenting) Insight training seminars. I’ll meet with mentor and coach, David (Insight’s President), other Insight colleagues, and conflict professionals in the region. I’ll plan out how I want to spend my year of adventure applying theory to practice.  It’s a short period of time, but I can already tell, it’s going to fly by!

As a fellow, it is my responsibility to plan and make the most of this year, so my first step was finding a place to live. And while that may sound like a typical task- find some apartments, visit, compare prices, and decide- when I was forced to think about what I wanted, I was blown away by all of the underlying interests that could go into finding a place. I obviously needed a bed to sleep in, but moreover, I don’t like wasting time in traffic, I enjoy creating community, I want to experience “historic New England”, I love homes with character, I am inspired by nature, and if my husband, Justin, came to visit, I would want him to feel at home too.  The list goes on, but once I had identified as many interests as I could, I moved on to options, and that’s how I met Charlie.

Charlie is the beautiful black lab that will be keeping me company this summer. And this is Charlie’s home- a gorgeous historic home in Weston, MA built in 1827, complete with fireplaces, creaky wooden floors, and plenty of character. Turns out, Charlie’s family is traveling the globe this summer and they were looking for someone to look after the house! The house is only about 15 minutes from the office, and every morning and evening as I drive the winding, wooded, New England roads, I always pass the picturesque Walden Pond. It’s the perfect place for a quick dip at the close of the day as I reflect on this incredible experience.

Life is a choice, and this year, everything is up for negotiation.

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