Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is there a Path?

Yesterday, I was involved in a program for talented youth in which we were introducing the children to business concepts.  I had great help from four fellow faculty, from two current students, and from two alumni of the business school.

One of the students led a session in the morning about what life as a business school student was like.  One of the parents asked about a path to success.  The student gave a great answer--although one that I doubt most parents of kids in a gifted and talented program would like to hear--"There is not one path.  There are as many paths as there are people."

In short--the student presenting had a path.  His path is just that--his path.  Not right for anyone else and not predictable.  His classmates have their paths.  Each of the parents in the class has their own path.  And each staff and faculty member at the school has his or her own path.

My path has not been predictable.  I have pivoted many times.  Changing career interests. Changing personal interests.  From chemistry to health policy to public health with economics to business.  From research to education.  From individual activity to group leadership.  Each change was not something that would have been predicted.

I like joining things together.  I like solving problems.  That has remained constant.

Yesterday, a perfect example of bringing things together was one of the kid groups.  They were stuck on having an idea to make a pitch about.  I reminded them of the importance of having a passion for whatever they decided to make a pitch about.  I asked, "What is your favorite activity?"  Of the five kids, I got 1 for technology, 2 for technology, 1 for basketball, and one who said, "I don't know."  I suggested that they think about how to put technology and sports together.  They did.  Another faculty member told me that she was impressed with how I helped the kids to integrate their ideas.  It all seems natural to me.  That is the one thing that I hope to maintain forever.  Other than that, I'll continue to make my path as I go along.