MBA boosted my intellectual growth

4250938965_08d591cec5_zI started my MBA two years ago. I have to admit that the last two years were not easy… Was it worth it? Definitely! Would I do it again? … YES! Knowing how much time and energy I had to invest in the program, how many things I had to give up in order to make time to study it was worth it. Indeed getting my MBA was one of the most challenging things in my life.

Changing my job twice within last year added to the difficulty level of the MBA Program. However truly thanks to my education I was able to get both jobs. This program made more attractive as a potential employee.

How do you do it? Getting MBA and working full time? Well you work 8-10 hours a day, then you get home and work on your homework, discussions, write papers, business plans etc. I counted that we had to read at least 15 books during the last 2 years, at least 50 Harvard Business Review’s articles, prepare presentations (one had over 50 power point slides), make movies, complete various projects, pass many test (some of them were 3 hours long). Wow! I’m happy that the program is almost over…

However I truly recommend this program to anyone who would like to learn more about HR, production operations, marketing and financial management, economics, IT or even statistics. This program is an amazing opportunity to gain necessary knowledge to become fully qualified manager. It also teaches you how to become a great leader with strong understanding of many areas of business.

Finally it gives you an opportunity to meet great faculty staff and other students who do not take things for granted. Who are not afraid to ask questions. And who are actively looking for the answers. I loved this journey and I am extremely proud and happy to be a part of the most challenging adventure ever.

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Every man has his mountain, I’m carving mine… (Korczak Ziolkowski)

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Today I would like to describe very interesting experience shared by many immigrants. I would call it losing the part of your identity or just the difficulty defining where your home is.

I moved to U.S. over 12 years ago. I had no intention to stay here the very first time I came here. In fact, every summer when I was visiting the country during my summer break at University of Lodz in Poland it was supposed to be my last time here.  However as a result of the chain of events and decisions I’ve been here for over a decade now. I have many friends of foreign origins and we all share the same experience.

My observation relates strictly to people at certain age who grew up abroad. The most important fact is that the person’s adult identity was created in different country and then that individual moved to another country. What happens is such adults (even young ones) had their personality created in particular environment, culture and circumstances with very specific values and beliefs and they feel special attachment to these.

Once we move to different country we can adjust incredibility quickly. Probably due to humans amazing flexibility. Also immigrants have a newcomer perspective and can see many differences in another country. Therefore very often we can quickly take advantage of the opportunities we notice in the new environments.

However we can build great life in ‘new countries’ very often we experience this strong feeling of melancholy towards countries in which we were born. We tend to idealize them in our memories. We experience strong confusion that ‘the new’ country is not yet my home but my ‘old country’ is not my home any longer.  At this point I still say that I am going home when I travel to Poland but when I am there I somehow miss my life here.

It is important to have a sense of belonging to keep your inner balance. My answer to this problem is very simple: your home is where your heart is…

The attached picture shows the Lakota warrior Chief Crazy Horse. When he was asked where his land were he replied “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”  The Crazy Horse Memorial was started in 1948 by a sculptor (who in fact had polish origins) Korczak Ziolkowski and is located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. I saw this sculpture in progress for the first time 17 years ago and till this day I am still impressed with it…  I respect Crazy Horse for his devotion while I nurture my home in my heart

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Impossible is nothing

A goal in your life is like a light in the darkness. It can give you direction which way to go. Clear goals can also motivate you to keep going in moments when you want to give up.

Over four years ago I was recovering from very serious injury. At that point it was questionable if I would be able to come back to work as an accountant. I took almost three months off work to recover. I needed a GOAL which would give me the strength to keep going, to work even harder, to give me direction and to charge me with motivation on a daily basis. In September 2012 I came up with the idea to get Master in Business Administration (not only I would recover but go even further and get my MBA).

Two years later I was admitted to the master’s degree program at University of Nevada, Reno. Two months ago I received 2016 Outstanding Graduate Student Award at UNR and in 2 weeks I am finishing my MBA program…

I do believe in continuous self-improvement and the process of learning is one of the most important elements in my life. However in order to grow two things are necessary:

  • You have to be open-minded
  • You have to have goals

A goal in your life is like a light in the darkness. It can give you direction which way to go. Clear goals can also motivate you to keep going in moments when you want to give up.  My goals are always realistic but when I come up with them they seem almost impossible. Yet once I reach them I am charged with this crazy energy to shoot even higher.

My goals are always very specific. When I say I would like to challenge myself I think that MBA would be the best way to do it. My goals have certain timeliness to make me accountable or them in specific timeframe (in two years I will have my beekeeping business running smoothly with 50 bee hives).

I know that impossible is nothing! MBA was just a warm-up. Now I am ready for more… In less than a month I will receive my diploma and I already have another three goals to pursue.  Goals which are clear, specific with very specific timeframe.

In order to reach my goals I create sub-goals which lead me to the main goal. In addition to that, I create my support groups of people who root for and help me to reach my success. Moreover I surround myself with people who I can look up to. I also track the progress of my work so I can make necessary adjustments.

I do realize how much determination and strength I have. It feels really amazing to have this sense of direction in my life. And MBA helped me tremendously to figure out what I wanted in my life and that whatever I want I can do it. At least I WILL TRY

Ready? Set! GO!!!

Just keep in mind Muhammad Ali’s words:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.

Impossible is not a fact.

It’s an opinion.

Impossible is not a declaration.

It’s a dare.

Impossible is potential.

Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.”

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Keep your balance

I have tried Bikram Yoga over two years ago and immediately I fell in love with it! Bikram Yoga is a hot form of a Hatha Yoga. You practice it in a very humid room with a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 Celsius). Each session lasts 90 minutes during which you practice the same 26 poses, always in the same order. Please believe me it never gets boring, every session feels different and brings new challenges. Bikram Yoga to me is the exercise of balance and pushing yourself a little bit more every time you practice.

The room in which you practice is extremely hot and humid. When you enter the room you feel hot air hitting your face. It is advised to arrive to each session earlier and sit or lay down before the practice for ten minutes or so to get used to the heat. This is the time when I thank myself for taking the time to practice and get into my yoga zone (I try to clear my mind form all the things that are going on in my life).

The practice starts… In the very first pose the entire room of people practice breathing and everyone makes this amazing sound while exhaling and you are just touched by everyone’s energy and the engagement into this exercise.

By pose 3 you start sweating so much and when you facing down you see your own sweat dripping down from your nose. Sweating in such temperature is just a natural response from your body to the heat. In order not to get a heat stroke your body is producing sweat to cool down your body

And now is the answer to the question why I would do it? And why I love it so much? I do it to clear my mind from every little though… When you are exercising in such high temperature trying to hold the pose for a minute or so there is really not much room for  thinking about some random stuff. You just try to focus and concentrate really hard to keep the balance and just breathe

This is truly incredible feeling – like you sweat all of you thoughts, worries, problems and leave them on your matt covered with the towel (you put the towel on your yoga matt so you won’t slip in the sweat… haha!).

I love the power of Bikram Yoga and encourage everyone to give it a try!

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Don’t be a jackass (the dilemma of donkey)

Let me tell you a fairy tale about the donkey: there was a donkey which had two buckets – one filled with hay and the other one filled with oats. Donkey loved both of them very much. So he got very excited at first but really quickly he got very confused with the decision which one he should eat (he could not eat both of them at the same time). While taking time to decide what to choose he ended up dying from starvation…

This story pertains to all of us. We have to make so many choices in our life. But no one gave us instructions on how to make the best choice. Very often we end up making the wrong decision and hopefully we learn from our mistakes so next time when we are facing difficult decision we have more experience and better knowledge to evaluate the  situation good enough not to make the same errors.

At this point of my life when I get confused and do not know what to follow: the message from my brain or the feelings from my heart I just make the final decision based on my intuition (some people call it following your guts…).

However following your guts requires trusting your own judgment; it also requires overcoming your own fears and limits. Most of your limits are created by your mind while the fears come from your heart. You just have to trust yourself and take some risk to make the best decision based on that trust with the information available to you at this point of time!

I just experienced that situation two months ago when I was offered really great job. I already had pretty good job at very strong company. When the new opportunity came I was facing donkey dilemma. Which one to choose? The timing of the decision was very important in this case. I had so much info to evaluate in this extremely important decision in my life. I decided to accept the offer and that was one of my best decisions ever!

Making any decision equals taking the risk of the consequences of the alternative you choose.  I hope that you will be able to trust your instincts and make up your mind fast enough so you do not die from hunger while choosing between hay and the oats!

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Into the wild

Today I’m going back to the mountains… The secret to happy life lies in balance (between work, family, school, kids or whatever it is you do most of the time). I have moments in my life when I can keep things in balance for a while and then suddenly I notice that everything is all over the place again. Slowly I work too much, study too much with no time for myself. In moments like that my thoughts just run away to the mountains!

I already mentioned in the previous blogs my passion for the outdoors. This is my escape which helps me regain my balance and inner peace. I think that the main point of hiking and backpacking is physical activity and the endorphins being released by our brain. However to me it is tremendous difference in what circumstances the hormone of happiness is being released! What a difference between being on treadmill and hiking in the beautiful scenery of the streams, meadows and the mountains?

Anyways, the last 2 years of my life were insane. I’ve changed job twice, I am also finishing my MBA. And at this point of my life my spirit is screaming: ‘Let’s go into the wild!!!’ So I’ve decided to hike Tahoe Rim Trail. We plan to hike the entire trail in one trip. It should take us ten days. In order not to carry all of the clothes and food for the entire trail we would recharge twice. Our trail angel would meet us at Spooner Summit and by Echo Lake. We start and finish in Tahoe City.

Now the answer to a question: Why would I like to do it? The answer is very easy: TRT is right here where I live and I feel disappointed with myself that I didn’t do it yet. I’ve hiked three segments so far and I am amazed how beautiful and different each segment is.

Why in one hike? Well, if you backpacked once you probably know the answer. Hiking is so amazing that you do not want to come back home. So why cut the trail into pieces? However even if we hike TRT in 9 segments that still will be pretty amazing adventure around one of the world most beautiful lakes! Ready?!?!

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Think outside the box and the concept of time

Working and studying full time obviously turned me into very busy bee… Extremely heavy work-load made me think more about how to use my time efficiently and the time in general. I’d like to talk a little about the different concepts of time and how they shape our lifestyle.

There is only this many hours in a day so I have to be productive but I also need time to rest, be lazy and just recoup my energy. I’ve noticed that I do so many thing simultaneously what made me think about the synchronic time perception. We believe in saying that when you’re doing too many things at once you end up not achieving anything. Indeed it is true but only in certain cultures…

I was first introduced to different concepts of time over 15 years ago by one of my professors at University of Lodz in Poland. I was truly amazed by the fact that people in various cultures view time in so many different ways and how these approaches relate to human beings and their life.

There are three different approaches to time:

  1. Linear – monochromic view, people tend to preform one activity at the time, time is viewed as commodity which should not be wasted. People focus on the future and the schedules are very important. (common in Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Scandinavian cultures).
  2. Flexible – synchronic view, where time is flexible and people are able to control it. Multitasking is the rule in this approach.  People focus on the relationships, the present and they are not so strict about the time measurement (common among Southern Europeans and in Southern America).
  3. Cyclical – in contrast to the two described above this approach believes that human being is not able to control time and has to adjust to it. This approach views time as cyclical and repetitive where the cycle of life controls people and they have to live in harmony with this cycle as well as the cycle of the nature. It focuses on the past and the connections. (common among Asian, African and Native-American cultures).

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the time and I truly start understanding better the concept of cyclical time. I agree with the cycle of nature where we have seasons, the cycle of life where you believe in reincarnation, the repetitiveness of the day and night. In my opinion this approach is more positive where you focus on the continuum while according to the linear approach an order of things has its beginning and the end.

In fact the end can be a beginning of something new and better. Chronos – god of sequential time may put some pressure on us but truly when we think about the time in a broader perspective we may find the approach which suits us better and with which we may identify ourselves better. Therefore let’s think outside the box and figure out what is your approach to time?

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