altMBA Week Four: Making a Ruckus

altMBA Week Four: Making a Ruckus

Have you ever wondered what you could learn in 30 days’ time if you decided to go all-in, exert every ounce of strength towards examining your worldview, understanding constraints and leaning in? That’s exactly what you’ll get in the altMBA program!


I spent the last four weeks immersed in the most amazing community of 100 people hell-bent on making a ruckus during Seth Godin’s altMBA6 program. Here are a smattering of lessons and themes I discovered throughout the course.


  • Embrace the tension. The altMBA course is not for those who already have prior commitments and are unwilling to feel the pressure of churning out work. There’s tension in keeping up with shipping projects. There’s tension in working with complete strangers in learning groups. There’s tension in trying to juggle your day job, family life and get all of your altMBA projects completed on-time. When I finally learned to embrace the tension, I began to relax into the process and let it work on me, rather than trying to forecast how altMBA would help me reach my goals.


  • Trust the process. I experienced more breakthroughs and epiphanies than I was expecting. I thought I would be going into a program with a clear goal, knowing what I wanted to learn during the program. That was turned on its head after Project 1. It was challenging to trust the process of altMBA, realizing that I would find my way through the murky waters of doubt, fear and uncertainty.


  • Lean in when you want to lean out. One of my learning groups was extremely challenging, and I wanted to “lean out” to do the projects on my own. Instead, I chose to facilitate conversations, step up to lead the group and be more proactive than usual. This helped me to grow as a leader and gain more confidence.


  • Teamwork improves projects. As a marketing freelancer, I was a lone wolf. I liked working in my own bubble, doing solo projects and never working with a team. This meant my ideas were never challenged to be better. I was never pushed to level up. I churned out work, but it could have been better. My learning groups taught me how to collaborate and work WITH a team, instead of doing it on my own and TELLING my team what I had already done.


  • Empathy. This was a theme woven throughout the entire altMBA journey. I still don’t think I’ve mastered empathy, but I am on my way to becoming more empathetic. Before altMBA, I was all too quick to judge people. Now, I am learning how to identify other worldviews and learn how to empathize with them. It’s incredible how a focus on empathy can change you from the inside out.


  • Showing up. Not everyone makes it through the altMBA program. I heard a host of excuses from teammates who did not keep their commitments from “I got married last weekend” to “I overslept” to “I have a client emergency.” The toughest part about altMBA is showing up to the learning groups on-time, every time. I revamped my entire work/play/family schedule to accommodate the program. And, it was more than worth it.


  • Pushing through fatigue. I relied much more on caffeine and Zipfizz than is normal for me because I felt so mentally taxed. In pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion (almost every night of the program), I found out where my limitations were. I realized where/when I could push myself and where/when I needed to take a break. I found out that I have more “prime work hours” in me than I realized.


  • Leveraging constraints. I am still trying to wrap my mind around this concept. A Beautiful Constraint is on my reading list for this next month. There are self-imposed constraints and external constraints. But, instead of looking at them as barriers, I am learning how to view them as opportunities, as leverage to reach objectives.


  • Being generous. altMBA is about showing generosity to all other altMBA students, cohort team members and those in each Learning Group. Participating in the Slack community was also another way to extend generosity, by looking for those who needed a word of encouragement, deserved a shout out or just wanted to be noticed.


  • Learning how to give/receive feedback. This was (and still is) one of the more challenging parts of altMBA for me. I was in awe over the insights/comments that I received on my projects from other students and from my learning group. I never felt that I could not reciprocate in the quality of the feedback I gave to others. It’s one area I am still working hard to improve.


  • Dance with fear. It’s okay to be afraid. What’s not okay is allowing fear to paralyze me. As soon as I give fear that power over me, I will cease moving forward and sink into mediocrity. Dancing with the fear means there IS movement, though it might not be in the direction I originally intended.


  • Do the hard part first. I thought I was good at prioritizing until I joined the altMBA program. I discovered there was “fluff” in my daily regimen. By stripping away everything else that did not need to get done THAT day, I discovered how to better manage my time and responsibilities. It’s amazing how much time we waste doing things that don’t need to be done… right now.


  • How to make decisions. I entered the altMBA program with one big goal, and I took away a completely different goal because I learned how to make good decisions, instead of simply asking for guidance from a friend or going by my gut. This one lesson was worth the entire course.

Have you considered doing Seth Godin’s altMBA course? I’ll be doing an online webinar with Q&A’s in mid-September. If you’re interested, shoot me an email here: and put “altMBA webinar” in the subject line. I’ll follow up with details!

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