I used to live a life of leisure. I had a decent job, with decent pay and decent benefits. I had a flexible schedule and 3 weeks of vacation. I was happy working to live and had no interest in living to work. I spent my evenings binge-watching on Netflix and weekends focused solely on fun, friendship and the pursuit of more fun. YOLO (you only live once) was how I rolled.
When my company decided to extend its benefits to include tuition reimbursement, I had no interest in going back to school. Why would I ruin my YOLO style with homework, group assignments and exams? Well, somewhere in my childhood I must have been deprived of something because I am one of those ‘Yankee Types’ that jumps at the hint of ‘Free Stuff’…
I am the person that leaps from my seat on an overbooked flight when they ask passengers to give up their seats. I troll the FREE section on Craigslist and pull my car to the side of the road to pick through what’s been left at the end of a driveway with a “Free Stuff” sign. When I go to a $12 all-you-can-eat buffet, I waddle out after consuming $24 worth of buffet. Some are entertained by my attraction to free stuff, I am often embarrassed at my uncontrollable excitement.
SO with the offer of free tuition, I signed up for the most expensive college that would accept me. Two years of night classes and 16 courses later, I graduated with an MBA and suddenly my YOLO life, Netflix binges and weekend flings were gone. Instead, I become the CEO of ME inc.
When I became the CEO of ME inc., I did a thorough SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats). I learned I had untapped potential and saw a path on how to maximize my impact both professionally and philanthropically.
In my MBA studies, I was introduced to the value of a “Purpose Driven Life.” I researched many entrepreneurs, leaders and the Social Enterprise (B-Corp) business model so when I caught my cap from the air at graduation, I had a plan. I dumped the YOLO and created a longterm vision for ME inc. Now, everyday I wake up with focus. I have goals to accomplish, impact to make, and followers to lead.
My final MBA course project was to help a nonprofit with their business planning and development. Through this assignment, I discovered that making an impact and changing the world wasn’t hard, and for some social entrepreneurs, it can be profitable!
While philanthropy was the path I choose, I saw my fellow students take different profitable paths. As I watched them get promoted, change jobs and climb corporate ladders. I noted our conversations evolved from bragging and embellishing of our last YOLO adventure to collaborating on business projects, sharing entrepreneurial ideas and business expertise. My tribe had changed. I am now surrounded by like-minded professionals driven to set the bar high and reach for higher.
While I miss the YOLO, I accept that living beyond the moment fuels my soul versus overloads my senses, and since, time is the only true currency, I prefer to spend mine wisely.