The High-Performance Machine

Nov 18 2010 Published by under MBA

(The following is an article I wrote for the BYU MBA newsletter Student Wire. Cheers. – Christian)

When I wake up today, I’m a 31 year old MBA student-husband-father-friend-classmate with possibly overly divided attentions, a growing list of personal successes, an also growing list of mistakes and awkward ideas, and a rolling list of to-dos that just seems to exist no matter how much effort I put into eliminating it. I’m ambitious. I expect myself to make a difference. I want to contribute valuable insights and work. I want the next moment to be my best moment. I hope the last less-than-my-best moment will go away quietly.

I’m thrilled with this knowledge-building, friendship-gaining, connection-finding, experience-gathering opportunity. I’m also exhausted by it. I’m enjoying this experience, and I expect I’m going to get better at it, but, in the meantime, all of these roles and goals and activities are putting a lot of miles on me.

And that got me thinking again about what I’m doing to keep me going.

A while ago I found that I had to be a lot more careful about what I ate and how much I slept in order to be clear and engaged in my work. It wasn’t that I was suddenly motivated to turn myself into some superhuman gladiator capable of conquering anything I came in contact with. These changes were to just keep up.

I assumed I was getting old, and it was now my job to make sure I didn’t fall apart.

Recently, it occurred to me that needing to eat and sleep better might have less to do with being “old” than I had thought. While looking over a sports car, it dawned on me that the high-performance vehicle required special motor oils, the highest quality fuel, and special tuning in order to function properly. If the car didn’t get those necessities, then it would actually function worse than its less than sporty commuter-class counterparts.

The light went on, and I suddenly realized (rationalized) that I wasn’t getting old, instead, after growing up as a commuter-class “me” that could deal with irregular maintenance and lower quality fuels, I had somewhere transformed into a high-performance “me” that would accept nothing less than the best to manage this high-performance lifestyle I was living.

I know I’m not the only one balancing the student, family, friend, job-hunter, success, failure, feeling-found, feeling-lost lifestyle, and I believe I’m not the only one who’s suffering from “high-performance” maintenance requirements. So, I hope all of you are also enjoying this MBA experience, and I encourage you to keep diving in where you see fit, and, if you’re feeling like this experience is making you age quickly, I suggest to you that you see it instead as refining you into a high-performance machine that needs special maintenance and care, and then continue maintaining yourself accordingly.

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