Balance & Peace During the Oxford MBA

Any MBA is an intense program, you uproot your life & routines at your job & hometown and purposefully put yourself into uncomfortable environments with people who all have a different perspective. It is painful the way a deep-tissue massage is painful. It hurts so good.

Bath SpaHowever, just like any massage you need to take a break from the pressure. Weekends aren’t helpful unless you take-off and disconnect from the MBA program entirely and sometimes you need one of those weekends. At Oxford that might mean taking a trip to Bath to use their Roman Spas after your exams (Next week’s adventure!) or it might mean taking a cheap RyanAir flight to wherever is cheapest for a few days.

This term I have neglected this advice and it built up. I was getting homesick and stressed out and realized that I needed a mini-break. In looking at the options I found a cheap flight home to DC and realized that this weekend was my friend’s annual over-the-top christmas party and my old chorus’ holiday show. So I did what any crazy person would do, bought the ticket for 60 hours back in DC two nights before my flight.

I am so grateful that I did, even if it took away some time from my favorite class and time to study for my exam on Tuesday. I am already feeling more energized and invigorated for the week to come. You see I am the type of person to operate at 150% otherwise I’m start to get unhappy. I take on a lot of things that I make certain I get done but leave no time for anything else. A coach once told me that that’s how I’ll end up dying 50% early … I’ll work my heart to death.

This weekend was a practical & valuable lesson that I need to take care of myself if I as a leader am going to take care of others. It is up to me to discover the balance, slow down and in doing slow be better at the 150% of things I choose to do.

Another amazing part of this trip was that it served as a confirmation of what my old DC friends told me when I left and what I haven’t acknowledged as truth until now. When I needed a break and was feeling homesick I went to DC. I didn’t go to Utah where my Mom & Brothers are. I didn’t go to Dallas where my sister and one of my favorite nephews live. I didn’t go to some exotic location because I am an unrooted traveller on this planet. No, I went to DC to feel at home.

It might not be the first job after my MBA (it certainly might) but I now know that DC is home. That I have roots in DC. That when I am in DC I feel a little more at peace. Something about the insanity of that city resonates with my soul and I know that I’ll end up back in DC soon.

I have to catch my flight and actually do some studying for my exam on Tuesday so I’ll sign off and board my flight back to the UK where tomorrow I’ll be more rejuvenated and more centered at the Oxford MBA.