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Rising Above Discomfort: MBA Lessons

Gayathri wearing her black convocation robe standing on a staircase and smiling at the camera.

Note: This article originally appeared on Linkedin. By: Gayathri Shukla, June 16, 2019

Having just completed my MBA, the two most frequent questions I get asked are “what did you get out of it?”, and “was it worth it?”.

This has me thinking, what did I really learn? Sure, I studied concepts in finance, economics, and so on, which were interesting and important in their own right. But the real learning was in rising above…

  1. Rising above self-doubt when you are thrust into solving a problem you have no expertise in, yet you figure it out anyway.

  2. Rising above heartbreak when you miss firsts, like the first day your son rides a bike or attends second grade, when you had to travel out-of-town for school.

  3. Rising above drudgery to study for an exam, burning the midnight oil, while the family soundly sleeps.

  4. Rising above angst when all your work, family, and school commitments collide and your life is on the verge of unraveling, yet you steadily set and accomplish your goals.

  5. Rising above your fear of vulnerability when you seek support from friends, mentors, and family, and you honor them for making your dream possible.

  6. Rising above frustration when you conquer fatigue, hunger, sleep-deprivation, and freezing cold to make it through military-style training (No joke, see picture above of our Reticle Training Day)!

  7. Rising above your fear of risk when you invest so much into a venture with uncertain outcome, yet you persevere with faith in yourself.

  8. Rising above your fear of failure when your results don’t match your efforts, and you let go to accept the lessons.

  9. Rising above your fear of isolation when others doubt and resent your success, and you realize that the only person’s opinion that really matters is your own.

  10. Rising above your fear of relinquishing control when you recognize that a team’s collective strength is much greater than any individual alone, and so you entrust tasks to those better suited for it.

  11. Rising above your fear of rejection when you differ in views from the rest of your team, but stand your ground for what you believe in.

  12. Rising above your pride as you learn that real leadership is about humility, which doesn’t mean you see yourself as “lesser than”, but that you see the awesome in others.

Of course, there is a story waiting to be told for each of these. For now, I will sum up the biggest lesson of all as rising above the discomfort of our past and current experiences, because truly, that’s the only choice we have to grow ourselves.

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