Friday, August 28, 2009

How Green is Your Grass?

Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Should you care whether it is?

I recall coming to a realization when I was going through my MBA program. My goals had changed from when I attended school in undergrad. After the initial few weeks of adjusting, I wasn't concerned about my grade. I was interested in and concerned with how much I understood the theories and concepts so that I could put them to use as quickly as possible.

That realization helped me see immediate results at work in how I managed the teams and what results we were able to achieve. The new vocabulary and skills, espeically with regards to financials and results-focus, helped bring a new level of energy to our efforts at work.

In school, I was no longer concerned with what grade I received and how I compared to the other people in the room. What mattered was how quickly I could understand a subject and how well I could put it to use.

In other words, I was concerned about how green I could make my grass and what amount of time I took to get it there.

A funny thing happened in this whole process. Not only was I able to immediately demonstrate the value of my education at work, I excelled in school. In fact, I received one of the highest business school national recongnition awards: Beta Gamma Sigma. In the case of our school, it was awarded to the top 90 percentile of students.

What's the message? The grass can be as green as you want it to be on your own side. Focus on excelling at what you do and all else will fall into place.

Randy Pausch, Author of The Last Lecture, put it well when he wrote "if you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."