In this guest post, Rhett Mitchelhill (lead image) from indie media agency Half Dome, offers his condensed takeouts after completing Seth Godin’s AltMBA…
‘Growth mindset’ is entrenched in the corporate zeitgeist but there is a difference between having a growth mindset, and fully tapping into its potential – and it is not binary.
This is my key takeaway from the AltMBA, an intensive four-week course designed by Seth Godin which I recently completed as part of my agency’s personalised learning and development program.
Where this course differs is that the real learning and development comes from the engagement, discussion, and feedback from other students as well as the real-time application of the coursework to real-world challenges.
If you don’t have a spare 160 hours – here is my cheat sheet.
The power of showing up
At the start of altMBA you are asked to write a letter to your future self, the version of yourself who has completed the course.
Usually, I would put pen to paper on something like this to tick the box so that I can move into the ‘real’ work. But for whatever reason, I took a different path this time.
The key message of my letter was ‘not to hold back’, in both my personal and professional life.
Potentially an anticlimactic reveal, but to be honest this experience of analysing, and more importantly being honest with myself, is one of the most cathartic experiences I have ever had. I have this letter saved in my email to check on regularly.
It is an exercise I will repeat, and one I would encourage you to consider.
In the first group session I shared my professional goals for the next two years and what I thought I needed to do to get there. Typically, if I were asked this, I would say things like ‘improve in my role’ and ‘help others grow around me’. This time, my ‘don’t hold back’ mentality reminded me not to give myself a place to hide. There I was, on a three-hour Friday night Zoom call, in the depths of Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, opening up to four strangers from around the world on my most closely held professional goals – things I hadn’t shared with friends, colleagues or mentors. Things I didn’t know if I deserved, or I could attain, but things I sometimes allowed myself to dream of.
I was rewarded for this instantly, with each of my classmates adding a different perspective to what I had initially communicated. Where I ended was a goal that was lightyears from where it started. It was well considered, fully planned out, challenging, realistic, and exciting all at the same time.
I saw the immediate benefit of vulnerability and of getting further outside of my comfort zone than I would usually allow.
The altMBA itself has a name for this – “the power of showing up”.
It isn’t enough to think you are in a growth mindset, the second you do that you are likely comfortable again. You just have to keep showing up, finding new ways to be vulnerable, to learn, to share.
It’s a powerfully simple concept, and yet it’s a superpower I will now forever chase.
Functionally, there’s three actions in my everyday life that help me get closer to this:
- Make time for learning: Heightened by ‘The Great Resignation’, overwhelmingly people are looking for roles where they can learn and find work-life balance. It is easy to deprioritise your own development and instead finish off your task list. Please don’t. Find a way to build it into your week as something to look forward to.
- Practice the power of silence: Godin spoke about silence when selling. That by ‘holding the silence’, for example waiting 20-30 seconds after the person you are speaking to has finished responding, you create tension in the conversation to allow space and pressure for the other person to speak. An uncomfortable, potentially awkward, and challenging technique but it pays off in more circumstances that just selling!
- See good, say good: ‘Goodfinding’ is the practice of catching people doing good things and acknowledging them. It could be a weekly report that is sent out, a nicely worded email, or another well delivered presentation. There is a lot of power in reinforcing good behaviour and appreciating and recognising great work around us every day.
I’ll conclude in the same way I finished my letter to myself: “Be proud of what you have achieved, and don’t forget how you achieved it.’
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