About 2 months ago I signed up for the altMBA. I had known about it from reading Seth Godin’s blog on a daily basis and I had read several of his books over the years. I trusted him and I liked his work. If you aren’t familiar with Godin, you can read about him here. Seth Godin on Google. I was looking for a challenge to my mind and spirit.
Spending 2 years working from home was taking it’s toll on my brain. We learn from each other. I can’t possibly see everything that’s going on; I can’t possibly fill my brain up with ideas and thoughts without folks giving of themselves. Yes, I work with others and we are online, but chatting via chat tools and calls just isn’t enough. I needed free, open, loose ideas to move my brain forward. Poor Lisa was my only outlet and I regularly paced up and down on our striped rug with my latest thoughts while she was in bed. She just couldn’t keep up and I’d meander away feeling lost.
So I signed up and a few weeks later a stack of books shows up at my house…. 7 in all. I haven’t read them all yet, but I am glad I have them because I know I will read them one day. The description of the course was intense. 20 hours a week plus 3 projects a week. I made sure to check with Lisa first because she was going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting while I was in class. I got everything cleared up. Support from family, books, course and a renting an office space… I was ready and petrified.
The whole course is online. Everything comes with instructions from a wordpress blog and slack that has all the information one could need. There is a lot of reading…. a lot. Each prompt (there are 16 in all) had readings and videos to watch, each prompt had a full “Action” that needed to be taken; the action was always a written post in our wordpress site that the whole class shared. Sometimes in groups; but mostly on our own; with each prompt having at least 3 hours slotted for discussion with 4 person groups… Lots of talking, lots of dissection of each prompt. They were purposefully provocative with no right or wrong answer. They were open and could be taken in any direction.
Along with the action from the prompt, each prompt also required that we comment on 5 classmates actions. So five posts of feedback on a classmates work. After the feedback was added, we then reflected on the comments received within our origingal posts. So follow along: 3 prompts a week. 15 comments per prompt, 3 reflections on comments, for 4 weeks. Quite a bit of writing and reading. Not to mention all the back chatter that goes on within the course slack/chat. This was intense and real.
I got sick 20 days in…. I struggled through the last 7-days… but got out in the end. I found the whole course to be wonderful. I was open, I was honest and got into some real deep layers of why work is work and why I work the way I work. What it means me and why I do what I do. These are real things. They are funny old things. I’m not sure why the course held a psychological place for me but it did.
The best thing about the course was the students or learning groups, whatever they were called. (altMBA went out of its way to use non-school terms. There were no group projects, there was no homework, no one was a teacher, no one was a student; it was clearly intentional.) The people I met and worked with in the course were outstanding. So smart, so clever. So much growth from beginning to end. Some people were literally working on transforming themselves and were able to achieve those changes. I feel great to have been able to work with those wonderful people and hope to keep the connection going.
I am not sure where this post will end, but one thing about the altMBA is to ship… so I will hit publish and carry on, showing up and writing.