I would not have guessed 18 months ago I would be attending Harvard working on my Masters in Cultural Anthropology (the study of people) and Archeology (what past people left for us to find out about them, and ourselves).
When I graduated in 1981 from Indiana University, my only goal was to FINISH. I was already working and believed the sole purpose for the degree was to use it as a key to get through the next doorway. I vowed never to return to school. Lesson 1: Never and always are rare.
More importantly, my education has taken me to new levels of understanding about leaders in general. Moreover, these new lessons are through my professors, none of whom are businesspeople but all who are leaders. Lesson 2: The more inclusive the definition of leaders the greater the lessons you can learn.
Yesterday I was watching a presentation from one of the CEOs with whom I work on his year in review/year ahead presentation. As I watched, I thought, “If all employees pay attention to this thoughtful and well-crafted presentation, the year for this company will be phenomenal.” He laid out exactly what he wants them to do to be successful. Lesson 3: The answers you seek are often right in your path.
When I was going to school full-time in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s I believed that professors did not care about me and were trying to fail me. Now I am aware that my professors want me to succeed. I need to participate and listen for what they are looking for and reflect the learnings through my voice. Lesson 4: Get the chip off the shoulder and do the work.
Carrying a 3.66 GPA, I realize I am smarter than I believed. My choice to begin this additional work in an already busy life is not taken lightly. Yet adherence to the rules of success in education: be passionate about your subject; sacrifice short-term play for the long-term payoff; procrastination is not a strategy; be more interested than interesting; and ask the question that is not answered; have ignited my personal and business life in ways that I could not have anticipated. Lesson 5: Expect the success you seek or something more significant.
As an author, speaker and columnist I can talk and write about many things. However, in school, you must speak with a scholarly voice. Opinions or positions should be well-organized, express a clear premise, and reach a conclusive result based on the facts collected. Lesson 6: Being factual and passionate beats hyperbole and emotion.
Be encouraged. Try something new and think about lessons you are learning from unexpected places. Wishing you a year of lessons, growth, learning, and success.