Wishing you every failure

By Kate Bennett, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program

Well there’s no other way to describe the first weekend of the University of Sydney MBA program: insanely intense, ridiculously rewarding, considerably confronting and mind-blowingly motivational. I honestly feel like I’ve had a rocket firmly inserted up my backside and that I am about to be launched into a whole new realm that I never even knew existed.

The Leadership Practice and Development (LP&D) unit is the first of the program, and one that our cohort all go through together. The group is brilliant and the diversity of minds, personalities and backgrounds is truly exhilarating. The experience that we’ve shared in this first weekend is nothing short of life-changing.

Having the opportunity to witness everyone opening up, facing themselves, identifying and acknowledging the impacts of their behaviours on others, being visibly perturbed and rocked by the findings and realisations, and then (through their strength and positivity) finding a way to truly connect with themselves, face their demons head on, take responsibility for their behaviour and identify ways to positively transform their approach was truly inspirational.

I was not immune to this experience, and equally learned a phenomenal amount about myself, the full extent of which I will not go into here as some things are best left in the realm of personal reflection. However, I will share my 3 key personal insights and lessons learned, in the hope that maybe they resonate with some others out there:

  1. I place so much pressure on myself to succeed (result), that I’m never truly present and engaged in the task at hand (process).
    Lesson learned: “Be Present!”
    If I’m mindful and truly engaged in the process, the result will take care of itself.
  2. I feel the need to know absolutely everything theoretically before I feel competent enough to confidently apply the skill/behaviour in practice.
    Lesson learned: “Try Stuff!”
    Needing to know everything rather than just getting in and trying stuff, not only keeps me from stepping up and trusting my innate abilities, but also prevents me from developing those skills and behaviours in which I am less competent.
  3. It’s a vicious cycle: when my perception of my abilities is low (insight 2) I tend not to get involved, which compromises the result (insight 1), and reinforces my perception of my own abilities (insight 2).
    Lesson learned: “Fail fast!”
    My fear of doing and failing is actually blocking me from doing and succeeding – so if I ultimately want to succeed, I need to just get in and fail..fast!

With that in mind, I’m looking forward to a spectacular 2015 full of gloriously fast and fabulous failures!

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