School's out for summer...

Leaders really need to pursue who they’re about. The point is not to become a leader, the point is to become yourself. You need to lead from who you are. Can’t try to be somebody else and be a leader. Start with yourself, become the person you started out to be and enjoy the process of becoming. When you realize who you are you’ll be a better leader.

I’ve been meaning to cycle back and write a wrap up and reflection post, but life is busy. School work was quickly supplanted by house work to get the place ready to put on the market and make the move to our next home. The semester ended with a flourish though. I wrote two well received final papers that allowed me to apply learnings to aspects of my job. I got good grades, boosted my grad school GPA way above where that ever was during undergrad. And I graduated. A piece of paper should arrive in the mail soon stating that I have earned a Nonprofit Management Postbaccalaureate Certificate. :)

Beyond attaining the credential, the past year of pursuing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota was an absolute privilege. The passage at the beginning of this post is paraphrased from one of Professor Kiedrowski’s lectures early last semester. Through all the studying and schoolwork of the past year, I learned a lot about myself. I pushed my limits, discovered some fragilities and flaws, and realized my ability to manage the limits and still thrive at a whole new level of pressure. I didn’t and couldn’t have done it alone. My spouse put up with a lot and picked up more than her fair share of the load. Our families were generous with their time helping with childcare so I could study on weekends. My employer was understanding and flexible when I needed it to get things done. I’m lucky as hell to have had this opportunity and very proud to have worked as hard as I did to take full advantage of it.

With the credits earned to date, I can enter the Master of Public Affairs program this fall roughly 40% of the way done. The cohort year for that program would get me another 40% of the way there, and it seems like having class just once a month for two days at a time should make time management easier. I still need to officially decide on and apply to enter that program, but the allure is certainly there. After completing a year of grad school I hit a stride with the work and got a taste for the leadership skills it teaches. I knew going in that my goal was to develop skills to be more effective in my career. At some point along the way I articulated that goal as becoming the CIO of a mission driven organization within 10 years, and even sketched out a visual map to that career goal as a Strategic Planning class exercise. A master’s degree seems like a pretty solid step along that path.

For now though, it’s summer vaca ..erm.. summer cleaning up our house to sell it and find another house to buy. So, busy in a very different way. But also extraordinarily lucky. Until August, this blog is on hiatus. Here’s wishing anyone reading a wonderful summer.

Written on June 11, 2018