Let me first start out by saying that the last 30 days of my life have been nothing short of transformational. Everything from cranking out 75 miles of running in March to increasing my GMAT score 50+ points. Part of this is due to a statement from my MLT Coach, Jackson, who said at the onset of the program that I will need to change my life in order to be successful during this process. I took that message straight to heart because I’ve tried things my way and let’s just say I’ve been less than successful as it relates to the business school process. With that, we had our opening seminar this week and I thought I should share some MAJOR KEYS.
This theme is one that pretty much embodies much of the information that was conveyed over the weekend. This was continually echoed by MLT staff, alumni, current MBAs and other fellows in my class. I started to realize that this journey will not be easy nor will it always be fun but it will be worth it if I put my trust in the process. Luckily, over the weekend I realized that I was not alone, there are ~300 young and gifted professionals going through the process at the same time.
Embrace having a growth mindset
Not only was MLT Alumnus Crystal Brown’s story extremely powerful, but also inspirational in that she elaborated on the why and how she overcame many barriers in pursuit of success. All of the key points of her success centered around having a growth mindset. A growth mindset is one that focuses on the effort that you are willing to put towards your goal and making positive confessions to yourself day in and day out.
Your MLT counterparts will become REAL FRIENDS
It’s crazy that I spend more time these days talking to my friends who are studying for the GMAT or new homies in a GroupMe chat than some of the folks that I’ve known for years. But this is exactly what my MLT Coach meant when she said that my lifestyle would change during this process. My new MLT homies represent a powerful network of people experiencing similar successes and setbacks who aren’t afraid to open up those same successes and setbacks.
“Selling Out” versus “Buying In”
John Rice, founder of MLT, shared a message that I found particularly profound and that was that in life you must decide how much you are willing buy into a new job or company without hiding the traits that essentially make you who you are. Selling out is often associated with changing many aspects of your lifestyle and interests to fit in with a majority population. It typically includes eating foods you don’t like, playing sports you have zero interest in, having conversations about topics you could care less about or altering your overall style (swag). As a young professional of color, you’ll likely have to buy in to at least one of these areas but don’t completely sell out just because you think it will get you ahead.
Relationship Building is A Major key
Building genuine friendships is the key to successful relationship building. Don’t always think about what you can get out of the relationship but rather think about the many ways you can leverage your talents and network to push forth the goals of someone else.
This is one of those statements that is often used in the context of professional development, but very seldom is it understood. Being coach-able means (for me at least) not only trusting the process, but also increasing your level of self awareness and allowing someone to guide your decision process. It also means that you might not agree with a strategy but you still have to give it 1000% effort.
In all that you do, BE INTENTIONAL
So this one makes me chuckle a little bit but it’s so real. Whether it be deciding what to eat or it be selecting that special person(#BaeDraft), BE INTENTIONAL. Being intentional is all about considering the long term consequences related to your choices. Intentionality also cuts out the “I’ll just go with the flow” mentality that pervades the minds of many twenty-somethings. So with that, don’t be afraid to #ShootYourShot!
It’s OK to display vulnerability
Vulnerability allows you to connect to your peers in ways that would otherwise not be possible. It also allows you to do some deep introspective thinking on where you have come from and where it is you want to go in life. Being vulnerable allows you also to capitalize on your strengths and not stress on the things not related your “JUICE” or “GENIUS GIFTS”.
Team Fuqua really knocks the ball out of the park as it relates to being authentic in your engagements. This is important because as I search for business schools, I want to make sure that I can engage with classmates and professors who “Keep It Real”, for lack of a better expression.
Practice Mindfulness, Being Present and Visualization
Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the significance of being mindful cannot be underscored enough as the stress factors of life continue to increase. Stress management is something that I’ve been working on over the last couple of years and it was great to re-focus and bring some of my old techniques back. I’ll definitely dedicate a post to some of the techniques that I use and how I initially got started.
So there it is, my first 30 days of MLT and first kickoff seminar summary.