Lessons in Leadership by Curtis Burdette

What Do You Do Next:

Reflections on Leadership Wyoming Class of 2022
First Session

We all make decisions. We look back at mistakes as well as those choices that
are great successes, but the most important question we face is “what are you
going to do next?”

A month ago, I returned from the Leadership Wyoming retreat for the Class of
2022 in Pinedale and Jackson, which was our first time gathering in person.
The rubber band snapped as the real world came crashing back into motion
and all those lessons are truly put to the test. I mentioned to the group that
what we bring back to our families and work life will be the truest test of what
we gain from Leadership Wyoming. Will the lessons and camaraderie carry
forward on Monday? The stresses and pressures of family life and work that
were interrupted for those few days seem magnified by the ticking clock of the
five-day work week, and the guilty feeling knowing there are things left undone
in the house and the office.

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and such are the habits we’ve come
to enjoy that also inhibit us. They are a comfort in their familiarity. The
discomfort of being away for Leadership Wyoming disrupts those routines—the
good and the bad. Now I find myself keenly aware of what I need to change to
be a better husband, father, brother, son, coworker, employee, and teammate.
These aren’t profound new insights turned on like the flip of a light switch, but
more like the dimmer lever that you’ve nudged upward that seems to slide
back down as soon as you remove your hand, and the lever sometimes sticks
and resists as you try to make changes in your own life. I don’t know what
changes I will accomplish in part due to Leadership Wyoming, but there are
some big steps I’d like to take within the next 12 months, and I’m emboldened
by this new group of friends to make progress getting where I want to be.

Journaling is one of those changes. Since early 2020, I have had the
opportunity to write a monthly article in the Energy Capital Economic
Development newsletter, which has helped me return to a regular routine of
writing. It’s also been exciting that the readership of our humble digital
newsletter about local economic development has grown during that time from
a few dozen fans to more than 150 devoted readers. When we picked out an
empty journal during the Leadership Wyoming retreat, I took it as another
opportunity to be inspired to write and organize my thoughts and express and
examine my internal dialogue. I also thought of the external purpose to think
about how none of us in the Class of 2022 felt prepared for the intense
transformative experience that Leadership Wyoming helps foster.

Most of us were encouraged to participate in Leadership Wyoming from friends
and colleagues who failed to find the words to express the experience and the
depth of personal development that it inspires. I’m not sure if I have the words
either, but I want to document and share how the first session changed me,
and perhaps that will help me when someone asks what it’s like at Leadership
Wyoming. I’m writing in my journal to document how my own changes and
perhaps sharing those changes will help provide others a broader picture of
what happens through the Leadership Wyoming program. And writing and
reflecting is one thing I’m doing differently after our retreat for my own personal
benefit as well as the collective good of sharing some of the lessons from
Leadership Wyoming Class of 2022.