Can you tell when a storm is coming?
Because I always can.
It’s something about the way the wind blows, the chirping of the birds, the smell… I’m not exactly sure.
It’s probably just a trace of a survival skill we humans have lost due to our commitment to distance ourselves from the wild.
But I’m not here to talk about a literal storm. I’m here to talk about the storm that I feel brewing inside of me.
Today is just another day. And, at the same time, it isn’t.
I’m excited and on my feet just like my horse gets before a big thunder-storm.
Today, the altMBA has officially started. I’ve been waiting for this day ever since I found out I got accepted.
I’ve been reflecting over the impact this will have over me for months now.
But today I’m also reflecting about my entire life. I took the afternoon to visit downtown, where I used to live. Where I lived pretty much all my life. As I walk around the streets I know so well, I feel like I’m taking a step trough time and I suddenly realize how much has changed, how much I’ve changed.
I think back to all the storms I’ve lived through:
The first one was back in 2018: starting high school. That meant I had cross the street (Literally. The two schools are right next to each other) from the warm and cozy nest where I had studied all my life, into your typical high school.
I had to learn all about social hieararquies, get used to the chaotic study routine of a “real school” and find my place in the food chain.
That first year, it’s safe to say, I was at the lowest level. I was the shy, nerdy girl who constantly asked herself “how did you go from being the best student in the other school, to being a complete failure here?”
It took some time to get myself up on my feet again, but I did. And by the end of 2019 I was back to being one of the best students in my school. The people who I was so scared of at first, ended up proving to be great friends. The teachers who I thought were so intimidating, proved to be the smartest and most supportive people I’ve ever met. I proved my value. I became a leader.
Everything was perfect. And then the second – more sneaky and intense – storm hit: a frickin pandemic.
Again, I fell on my butt.
Again, I got up.
In August 2020, I was part of a workshop (The Emerging Leaders Program) that pushed me harder than anything I’ve ever done. I felt as if someone had dunked me into freezing cold water, waking me up and showing me everything I’m capable of. When I came out of the water, it was hard to go back to reality. I was wet and cold while desperately trying to hold on to that energy.
But now, eight months later, I believe it’s safe to say I’m dry and warm.
I have taken the time to process what that experience meant for me. I’ve learned so much about myself this past year.
And today, walking around and seeing my reflection on the glass windows of the huge office buildings, I see how much I’ve changed. I look stronger, I walk with more confidence, I don’t care that people look at me funny because I’m walking around with a backpack taking pictures of places I know like the back of my hand, sights I want to remember.
A new storm is coming, and this time, when it swipes me off my feet, I’ll fall on my butt laughing and I’ll stand up with pride.
The altMBA will be another big chapter in my life and I’m curious to see how it will shape me. Who I’ll be at the end of it, and especially, what I’ll do from there. I wrote a letter to that future me:
Dear future Luisa,
For pushing through when it got hard.
For embracing the fear of sharing your opinion.
For working hard to ship your best work.
For listening and learning how to give and accept feedback.
For keeping an open mind and making new friends.
I hope you got everything you were looking for, that you earned the tools, skills and connections that will help you achieve your goals.
I hope you truly understand now that no one is going to drop from the sky and tell you exactly what you need to do with your life. That it’s up to you to determine the impact you want to have in the world.
I’m excited – as you should be – to see what you’ll achieve, what you’ll create after this, how you’re going to put all this awesome energy you’re feeling to good use.
Remember that this journey is just like one of your long runs: you start with a sprint – to wake up and get all that energy flowing – then, you slow down to a steady pace that allows you to run for hours and you wrap it up with a final sprint.
So now, please go rest for a couple of days.
Then, determine what that ideal pace looks like.
Draw your path: your practice.
Keep running: continue to show up, just like you did for these past 30 days, sit down and do the work, especially when it gets hard.
Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve been making, stop coming up with excuses – “I’m not the right person to do this”, ” someone else can do more, do better”, “it’s not my place”, “I’ll start making an impact when I’m put in the right situation” – you have seen how much you can get done, you have seen your potential; you can write that blog post, you can commit to a part time job, you can make new connections even in isolation.
You have taken that first sprint, where will you be when you take that last one towards the finish line?
P.S.: This was actually a warm-up prompt for the program, I don’t usually write long letters to future versions of me. Although, now that I think about it, maybe I should 🤔
P.P.S: As I re-read this letter I’m starting to realize how often I use the “running” analogy, what can I say? I really like running 😂