Wow! What a ride! If you had asked me in November 2019, when I was registering for classes for my upcoming first semester of my MBA program, what predictions I had for the world while I attended school, I would not have guessed widespread pandemic, global upheaval and supply chain disruption, and long-needed collective action for social justice and change. Yet, here we are, two years later, my program is done and I know I'm as transformed as this world I live in.
I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and pride that I kept the contract with myself. I had declared sometime in late 2018 or early 2019 that I was ready to attempt my MBA. Initially, I was expecting it to take me closer to two and a half years and, I'm relieved to have finished in two. It was not two years without tears or worries or frustrations. The material was challenging as was my pace.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my program. I believe the courses I took were extremely useful and applicable. My professors typically chose up-to-date books with relevant looks at our rapidly evolving environments. We were given challenging and appropriate assignments that I could translate into my day-job. We were charged to think beyond our anecdotal experiences and put on our research caps for validity and reliability of our hypotheses. I got to study operations and statistical process control, true strategic marketing, and the latest research in human resources and organizational development. I got to put my mind together with my fantastic classmates as we analyzed and summarized Friedman and Porter's arguments, as we dug into and actually practiced negotiation and ethics.
Because my program was small. I got to know the 15-20 folks who were repeatedly in my courses. I feel connected to my graduating cohort even though we took 75% of our program online. I'm grateful to the university for acknowledging that online doesn't have to be boring or uniform. It can be adaptive and real and foster a sense of connection when done well.
I'm so grateful to the numerous individuals whose support, encouragement, commiseration, and shoulders-to-cry-on made completing my MBA possible. You know who you are <3.
And finally, I leave you with a poem I wrote today while reflecting on my learning journey. If there is anything out there you're thinking of doing, do it! There is beauty in transformation, my butterflies.
I'm sitting down to reflect on my year and, I have to admit something to you, dear reader. In 2020, a year when we faced a deadly pandemic, murdering police and calls for social justice, an atypical election cycle with attacks on our democracy, and business-not-as-usual, I, a self-proclaimed over-achiever, took on too much. In summary, last year I committed and completed the following: writing a daily poem and posting it here, my first year of classes towards my MBA, practicing and teaching yoga (in-person at first, online you-know-when), being an engaged contributor at my full-time day job, meeting my consulting clients' needs, and being a loving spouse who shares the workload.
Here's my caveat: even knowing it was a tough year, and hindsight being 20/20 and all, I still don't think I would go back and take anything off my plate. Wild. Right? So, with that personal clarity, I wanted to share with you the top insights I gained from taking on too much in 2020.
Image credit: Franz Bachinger on pixabay
• I control what occupies my mind
Despite the overwhelming amount of options my attention span is inundated with, in the end, I get to decide what information, entertainment, distraction, etc., consumes my mind. If you've been following me for a while, you probably saw that I paused my own reading of books for leisure for the first half of 2020. My intent was to pause for the entire year and over summer break, my will weakened and after that, I reasoned with myself that I could balance the urge to read with the rest of my commitments, which I did - sort of. I also stopped thinking as much though. I let the books become what I wanted them to be, a distraction, and it was fine because it was what I needed. At the same time, I haven't read any leisure books so far in 2021 and already I see my thought patterns changing. I also notice a correlation between novel reading and social media. When one goes up, the other goes down. I'm most heartened by my awareness. Because I am aware of what wants to pull my attention and what happens when I follow those different paths, I can better decide how I want my mind occupied.
• Having purposeful downtime is not wasteful.
I could have called this one 4b because it's definitely related. Since I control how my mind is occupied, I'm also in charge of whether I'm being "recharged" or just "draining the battery". If I choose downtime that makes me go braindead or forget that there is life "out there", then I'm not actually refueling. Choosing downtime that helped me feel refreshed and energized, such as a walk and a phone call, or making art, made a big difference on whether I had the energy and enthusiasm for school after work. Sitting down and reading a book made me want to stay sitting and stay reading. The new year gave me a good chance to "reset" and I'm finding my way forward on this one again.
• It's humane to be human
Being human must come first or I can't be anything. When I pay attention to my physiological needs and responses I am better able to concentrate on the tasks I decide to get done. This insight was taught at the school of hard knocks of 40 hour work-from-home workweek followed by evening school work. I could no longer rely on my walk to and from the bus station to stretch my legs. I could not count on having every weeknight for hikes or biking. I needed to be intentional in how I moved, sat, and slept. Yoga was a big help and when I practice more than 3 times a week, I can get away with more inactivity during the work day. The fewer the yoga sessions though, I better be moving on my 15s and lunch! Setting a routine helped and getting outside. I feel so much more human when I can feel the wind on my face at least once a day.
Thank you, dear reader, for sticking with me this long on my 2020 reflection, for tolerating my mildly obnoxious humble-brag as I worked through those insights. I hope they help you and me in navigating what is coming our way for 2021.
I believe perspective creates reality and though we may not have turned the corner on good things outweighing the bad, there is a lot of good inside of me, you, everywhere that can fill us up. My wish for us in 2021 is that we carry with us the surprising gratitude, the moments we realized our treasures, that we keep that hard-earned perspective and keep dreaming.
Happy New Year!
Love - Amy Kay
Image credit: Pexels on Pixabay
I did some reflecting on my 2020 intention setting poem. Remember that one? It was "I Will Be A Corpse Whale". You can read it here. I wrote it's second response poem tonight.
Image credit: Photograph on pixabay
Sometimes my traditional MBA courses make me irate as hell.
Image credit: Pexels on pixabay
I'm holding a paradox in my heart on this one. I do, sincerely wish for peace and joy and comfort to you this holiday season, and, I believe we could be doing a better job. My poem today carries a bit of my sadness from some things I heard in the news report today.
Wow! If you are near the twin cities, Sever's Festival of Lights in Shakopee, Minnesota is fantastic.
Here are three poems for the last three days. I've been rejuvenating, sleeping in, painting my house, and working on a pre-requisite for my MBA program. It's a blizzard in Minnesota right now and my house is cozy and perfect. It makes me feel very thankful for what I have. The solstice was on Monday and also made me feel thankful. The days will just keep getting brighter from here.
"Solstice" is an ekphrastic poem in Shadorma form inspired by this image by David Sockrider.
"Descendant" is an ekphrastic poem inspired by this image by Jacob Sutton.
Image credit: Jill Wellington on Pixabay
Check out my inspiration for this ekphrastic poem here: https://www.artistaday.com/?p=143815. Arielle Pytka is the artist. I've written quite a few poems about the concept of clowns and this might be my favorite. Thanks again to Rattle for inspiration on ekphrasitc poems.
Shout out to Rattle for their monthly ekphrastic poetry challenge that inspired this one. Shout out to Dominique Dève whom they chose as the featured artist to inspire us in December.
art credit: Dominque Dève
Let there be peace on earth.
Image credit: Robert Armstrong on Pixabay
A collum lune and a shadorma. I'm in the holiday spirit. Tonight I addressed all of my holiday cards while watching two holiday movies back to back. So you get two holiday poems, back to back.
It was finals week and I had a bear of a schedule to wrestle. The celebration today was sleeping in, practicing yoga, talking with family members, buying holiday gifts, and posting these poems.
Image credit: Mammiya on Pixabay
I'm a lucky human and have fallen in with many other humans who make me feel complete and content and enough. This poem is for one of those sparkling stars of my life-time. Agape <3.
Image credit: Karen Henseler on pixabay
Wishing you joy, this season.
Image credit: Larisa Koshkina on pixabay
One of the best and worst things. The best because it's a challenge to understand and explore the paradox you find, the worst because it's hard to make peace between the two truths.
Gotta' top myself off sometimes. Metaphorically I do this (self-care) through baths, making other types of art, deep conversations, laughter, and being in nature.
Creative enthusiast, gregarious naturalist, opinionated activist, RYT 200. Amy Kay Czechowicz completed a poetry challenge for 2018 and 2020 by posting an original poem daily to this blog. She writes here occasionally to drop nuggets of wisdom she picks up along her way. You can read her poems and posts by clicking and exploring below!