struggling with being different

Everyone, at some point in their lives, struggles with being different.  Growing up in an immigrant home in Minnesota, I’ve always been an outsider.  Thankfully by middle school, I learned to be very comfortable in that role.  In most instances I’ve been able to find my merry band of misfits.  We have a good time together.

However, as I age, I’m becoming even more of an iconoclast.  If I received a nickel every time someone told me I was “unique”, I might be able to graduate from HBS debt-free!   Misfits are harder and harder to find and it’s isolating.  Last night I was having dinner with some colleagues.  I made some seemingly uncontroversial statements (“I’m trying to radically decrease the number of things I own”, “motherhood has limited appeal to me”), and people looked at me as if horns had sprung from my forehead.

With a class of 900, I should be able to find some like-minded (or simply open-minded) people at HBS.  But I’m getting a little nervous that I won’t.

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Mastering the art of humility

Humility is something I regard very highly in others, and something I strive for myself.  I’ve been thinking about how I can be a more humble person.  Two ideas after the jump;

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best practices in e-mail management

If you are like me, you may struggle with managing the amount of e-mail you receive.  I conducted an online investigation of best practices.  Below is a summary of my key findings:

1.      First Principle: Your inbox should be completely empty

  • Imagine if your e-mail were actual pieces of paper.  In front of me I would have a stack of urgent documents, doodles, research reports, and paper invitations that require my RSVP all jumbled up in a pile.  It’s incredibly disorganized and that’s what I look at every morning when I fire up Outlook/gmail.  Frankly I don’t think it’s good for my mental health, because I always have a nagging feeling that I need to reply to something.

2.       When you read an e-mail, you should immediately do 1 of 3 things:

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What this is about.

The primary purpose of this blog is to help me figure out where I need to go post-MBA.

In my experience, prose is the best way to synthesize facts, ideas and opinions. Speaking, Twittering, or creating (my beloved) PowerPoints come nowhere close. In a few months when I start my MBA, I will be inundated with all manner of information and pressure (peer, financial, and other). I see this blog as an oasis. A place where I can clearly articulate what I know, what I think, and ultimately what I believe in.

It will be rough in the beginning, but hopefully my writing will improve over time. Please let me know if you find typos.

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