by Imaan Taghavi (2014 Byron Fellow)
Going into Byron, I was unclear as to what to expect. Preoccupied with so much else in my life I was having a hard time trying to understand what I had read a past fellow describe as “interconnected flourishing.” I did, however, had some recognition of my own sense of place when entering the Byron experience and what I felt would be worth exploring within myself.
Byron offered a space for reflection on our leadership qualities. I have always found myself eagerly seeking leadership positions in many of my endeavors, whether it be through Presidency at my campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders, co-founding the first ever chapter of the Council for International Development, or leading a progressive rock band with several friends. In this space I approached myself with the question of what factors drove me to pursuing and pushing so much out of myself into these endeavors and found one important element: as I expressed my leadership, I sought also to see others unlock their inner potential and passions.
In Engineers Without Borders, I had recently spent significant time establishing a system for members to construct a workshop concept and create it from start to finish for the public to learn about various appropriate technologies. In the Council for International Development, we have excelled in providing campus international development clubs with a platform for dialogue to improve one another and flourish through further interconnection. In my band, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked my bassist to take a solo and my greatest desire within the band is to see us reach our fullest musical potential. Happiness and self-fullfillment for me went hand in hand with others also feeling proud and thriving in their potential.
I collected these reflections into myself one afternoon on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and refined them into this poem after the Byron experience. I invite you to join in discovering what moves you towards the passions you have.
I want you to know your potential
This intention is special to the rhythm of my own vessel
Beating through a torrential outward expression of my body and soul.
I want you to know you’re potentially flawed
but a flaw should not give birth to insecurity or acquiescence.
It should rather be a space for your self worth and assurance that
you are indeed capable of so much more than you believe.
I want you to know your potential regrets
can be lessons to change these flaws
and ultimately your fate.
Every decision you make,
Every opportunity you didn’t take or every time you’ve been late,
Every person you’ve wanted to tell one more time those three words
but can’t because they’ve passed from this life.
Each of these things can teach you about yourself in a way nothing else can.
These bits and pieces
are folds and creases
that tease our existence out of us
and can bring you to know your sacred potential.
And I can hope you want me to know mine as well.
So let us flourish
together in this short span of time
that is life.
You can’t do anything, or even most things,
but you surely can do more than you believe.