Essentials for the Journey:

When grace meets hard work, and opportunity – anything can happen.

After 19 long months I am blessed to be able to say I’ve completed my Master in Business Administration (MBA). I can remember my first day Tuesday April 17, 2011 for an orientation that after four days felt more like a boot camp! Over the last 19 months I’ve grown a lot. My vision of the world – how I think – how I feel about economic development, social responsibility, education, strategy, the role of technology and leadership has all shifted and evolved… for the better. There were a lot of things I had to keep in mind along the way but here are a few essentials for any journey in life.

Faith: I was in church recently and the pastor gave me a new perspective on faith. He said if you don’t see it before you see it – you won’t ever see it. My undergrad degree was in political science so classes like stats, financial accounting, marketing, management policy were not in my wheel house of skill sets. Business was an entirely different field of study but I found myself envisioning the goal line – taking on new skill sets and completing the journey. No matter what the journey – or task we undertake we won’t always have the answers at the starting line. That’s where faith comes in that no matter what we’ll keep pressing forward. As my pastor Wesley T. Leonard would say faith isn’t jumping to conclusions. Faith is coming to the conclusion to jump. Sometimes the journey will require you to jump. Be ready!

Friends: As i pursued my MBA I was blessed to be put with a great group of teammates who were incredibly strong. One had a financial background. Another was an engineer who works at Lockheed. Still another had her doctorate in urban planning and was an architect. Our 5th teammate had a marketing background. When I say I couldn’t have done it without my teammates that’s the God honest truth. Where I was weak they proved incredibly strong. As I reflect on it now – a lot of my blessings along life’s journey are the result of some fantastic friends and people who have been willing to push me, motivate me, encourage me, and inspire me. Any Journey will always better with a few people you trust to enjoy the ride.

Fortitude: 19 months is a long time especially when you are a fish out of water for the first few months with a demanding full time job. Were there times I wanted to just pack it up and go home? Definitely. Were there times when I couldn’t get a concept and drove home with tears in my eyes and fear of failure in my heart? Absolutely. What got me through were the echoes of advice given long ago by my mother. After I flunked kindergarten she told me I could do anything I put my mind to. I believed her and refused to give up. Napoleon Hill once said when defeat overtakes someone the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. So our journeys — whether pursuing an MBA, getting married, a new initiative at work, the opportunity to achieve social impact – may at first be met with some set back. That’s when fortitude has to kick in.

Summon the will – and your dreams will become inevitable.