Six Months On

Six months ago today, I finished the altMBA.

From application through the program and into the alumni community, we talk a lot about leveling up, turning pro, and getting out of our own way. We talk about the work that matters. We talk about making things better.

The obvious question is what all those metaphors really mean in lived experience. And while I can’t speak to everyone’s experience, perhaps my own can be a bit of a guide.

I like learning, and I’ve had a pattern of sticking around school after graduation. But that consciously wasn’t the point of the altMBA: I was looking to learn applicable concepts and above all to put them into action during and following that monthlong sprint.

On commencement day, I didn’t have the answers to everything. However, I did feel better prepared to organize myself around an emerging goal to ratchet my life and work forward.

Some of that has been practical: I’ve continued to work on taking control of my budget and finances, I’ve taken a much more experimental approach to finding new opportunities, and I’ve gotten clearer and clearer about how I want to organize my life in general.

But the internal transformation has been most striking, and I expect its compound value will turn out to be the greatest. For the altMBA is not really about learning how to make or manage a buck: it’s about learning to work mindfully and lead bravely in the face of “this might not work.”

Since “this might not work” is the basic condition of so much of life, it’s essential to learn to recognize the ambiguity, manage it as best you can, and act anyway.

Six months later, the ambiguity hasn’t lessened, but the fear and paralysis have. And I can’t begin to say how much that feels like a level-up of my experience.