In previous blogs, I have referenced my epiphany a few years back when I realized I had become a ‘glass half empty’ person. What was happening in my life to make me unhappy? I have a great family and friends, successful career, good health, and a solid outlet for relieving stress and finding enjoyment. Why would that not be enough?
The answer probably lies somewhere in the vicinity of “because life had become too easy”.
How was I challenging myself?
As I contemplated how I would solve my problem, I thought back to the underlying concept for exercise and strength. In order to become stronger, you must stress a muscle. The right mix of stress, recovery, periodicity, and fueling (nutrition) is an overly simplified formula for gaining strength. How each person goes about that strength training is different just as different exercises will strengthen different muscle groups.
But I wasn’t looking to strengthen my body so much as an overhaul of my psyche. In my case, I realized that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and seek new challenges.
Perhaps it was time to get an advanced degree. I had several reasons for going back to school. First, my parents and sisters all had advanced degrees and I didn’t like being the odd one out. Second, I noticed that although my work experience was stellar and I was highly competitive in my field, without the acronyms after my name, I just wasn’t getting call backs on my resume. Third, and perhaps most importantly, I had always promised myself that it was something I wanted to do. Maybe then was the time to take on that particular challenge.
Enter grad school.
That was a little over two years ago. In about two weeks, I will be graduating from THE University of Nevada Reno with my MBA. (I emphasize the word “THE” to differentiate UNR from that other school in Southern Nevada).The analogies between the last two years and my sporting life are numerous. Work to the point of exhaustion, exercise weaknesses to forge strengths, try to find some recovery time in between semesters, and be willing to rely on others.
Ask any athlete who is successful in their sport and they will tell you that without their support network, they would not have made it as far as they have. You and I are no different than the best athletes. We need our support network to be successful.
In my studies, several people have helped make my graduation what it is. My wife proofread way too many papers and ignored expletives when exams blew up or projects didn’t go well. My sons coached my lack of tech skills. Professors endured my errors. Others students (Nick and Sarah) provided support and guidance. Friends deferred events. My employers granted me time off for exams, study sessions or just to recover.
My glass is half full again. I’ve been challenged by the last two years. I fulfilled a life-long promise to myself and to my parents. I have revitalized relations with family and old friends while gaining new friends. And, oh yeah, and now I have acronyms to compete with my sisters.
In response to a previous blog, a wise person responded with the statement “refill the glass”. As I thought about that response, I realized that, to some degree, I have.
The new questions are: What now? How will I keep the glass at least half-full?