Sep 2017 - May 2019
The first week has passed by. We made 62 new friends, from more than 30 countries in 5 continents, in almost any possible field. Besides the classes and official dinners, going to the pub after classes became an important ritual in our small tribe set-up. During these moments, a question emerged frequently: why did each of us apply for this EMBA?
Despite the diversity of class-mates, many answers were quite similar. At the beginning, I heard the expected ones, related to the 6 centuries of the Oxford University, the World-Class equity and the new opportunities that might arise. These sounded to me like a rational validation for our financial & time investment.
Than we had the first classes and we met our excellent professors. They are restless people, devoting their life to creating a positive change around them. And one evening, I’ve been part of an inspirational story, done by Professor Kurt April. He lectured about the choices we make at different life moments.
Our life journey seems to be like an Opera with three parts:
In the First Act, we spend many years following a story that will make us hunters of success. Usually, this success tale is a social norm, written by others: having power, earning money, owning a nice house, driving a luxury car, going in nice holidays.
In the Second Act, for some people something happens. This is related to fail: living a lonely unfulfilled life, lack of a true scope, having no positive impact around.
In the Third Act, people need to take a decision. Either boosting the existing narrative chasing more money and more power; or break the narrative and re-write it, creating their own story that truly fulfils them.
In that evening, Professor Kurt April spoke with his words, but he worked with our emotions.
I felt a revelation.
In our small EMBA tribe, the friendship soon cracked the barriers. Being comfortable with self-vulnerabilities, a simultaneous insight surfaced, related to deeper tensions.
The majority of us, despite being successful, had a history of mismatches, break-downs and failures. These set-backs were precious just because they became a long-term changing agent. It was a surprising correlation. The more painful the experience, the more it becomes related to someone’s life purpose. The less a noble scope exists in the current work-places, the more someone was looking for a meaningful switch. The lucky ones, already started to change their life in recent years. Others are currently working to decide future direction.
It seems that as a group, we are in full Second Act, and searching for the Third Act, re-writing our own story. We don’t want just to become more successful, but more meaningful.
At the end of the day, the transformation is compounded. It requires one degree of change at a time.
In this first week, I had mine. I know that all will add up at the right moment.