Sandboxes: Not just for Kids!
One of the prevalent themes that I have been bombarded with over the past month and a half (hard to think that so much time has already gone bye!) is the idea of using my MBA experience as a sandbox. While I wish that this means that I could build sand castles all day; unfortunately, the reality is that it’s more along the lines of using my sandbox to step out of my comfort zones and not be afraid of failing at something over the next two years.
As I mentioned last week, I am really happy with my decision to pursue my MBA. I think one of the biggest reasons that I am happy is because I get to craft the next two years of my life the way I want them to be crafted versus being stuck on a career/organizational path that might not be the ultimate best fit for me. Even better, with this great freedom (to craft in a manner of my own choosing), it is also important to realize that the cost of failure is relatively low here in an MBA program (on a quick side-note: DO NOT FAIL in your classes; that’s not a sandbox area).
I have found in the past that my biggest learning experiences come from my failures. And let’s be honest, no one likes to fail all the time; after all, we prefer to have happy thoughts to negative ones. But part of the challenge that comes with the freedom to shape is for me to find areas where I can/do need to fail in, so I can learn to grow in them. As I said, the cost is relatively low: at worst, my classmates might laugh at me (but in a constructive way); at best, I will understand what went wrong and I can then begin to start a process to learn how to fix this area. Hence, this is why I should work on myself in my sandbox and really use this time that has been given to me.
Some concrete steps that I have already taken are to join a Toastmasters club (to improve communication and leadership skills), learn how to be a listener versus a speaker, how to improve my tolerance for risk in my life (I am pretty risk averse), and finally, this blog is an example of how I want to become a better writer and communicator of ideas.
In summary, this is why I choose the picture above! I feel that it really captures the spirit of my MBA and future career years. I am a little hatchling, who can already move around in the world, but I know the sea is home to me. I need to get to the sea, but I am not sure of which direction it is in yet! But I will break out of my shell, try new things, figure out the direction I need to go in, and eventually (assuming the predators [a metaphor for my career failures] don’t eat me) I will be happy in the sea!