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Teodora Zareva

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Bulgaria

Industry:

Social enterprise

Year:

2015-16

By Teodora Zareva

I deserve to be here. And so do you.

“Here’s the thing”, said our group coach, “all of you are used to being special in the various contexts you come from. Here, however, you are all equally special, and therefore, all of a sudden… ordinary. Every year I see so many MBAs struggle with confidence issues. It’s very common.”

So there it was – the final confirmation that I was not unique.

Since the beginning of the program I had felt so uniquely insecure, uniquely out of place, uniquely undeserving to be part of this amazing group of people. Also, I felt, I had uniquely and solely been able to deceive the admissions committee in granting me a place in the program. They must have made a mistake, I thought.

One of the best decisions I made in the past two weeks was to share my crippling thoughts with my classmates. Conversation after conversation they echoed my feelings. As I heard the same people I dared not compare myself to – people amongst whom lawyers, software engineers, social entrepreneurs – share similar self-doubts, I realized that my struggle was not unique at all, and most importantly that it helped both sides to admit it and talk about it.

One more thing became clear to me – I really wished to be able to show you to you, to have you see yourselves through my perspective – beautiful MBA-unicorns with amazing histories headed to even more amazing futures. (Quants permitted to cringe).

In this spirit, I decided that I want the purpose of my little column here to be you. I want to dedicate this space to showing you how awesome you are and how valuable all this “baggage” is that you’ve brought here. Because I believe that underneath every MBA-shining-armor, there is a delicate and often insecure perfectionist soul, anxious that nothing she ever achieves will be good enough, because, obviously, there is always room for improvement and, let’s face it, there are way too many problems in the world to be sitting around and patting ourselves on the backs.

Hopefully, with your generous permission, I am going to be picking your brains on a variety of topics that interest and move me. I will share some of your insights here, uncover your sensibilities, entertain with your humor and sarcasm, and most importantly – share our vulnerabilities. Because, as we’ve already heard in numerous sessions so far (and as my fellow classmates and bloggers have already written about (http://blog.davidbbaker.com/2015/10/vulnerability-mba-launch-week-2-mt-1/)) it is only through vulnerability that we can unlock the greatest strengths that lie within us.

P.S.

There is a brand of tea that I particularly like. It is called Yogi tea and besides the rich, aromatic spicy blends that it offers, each tea bag comes with a “Yogi inspiration” – a simple truth to meditate on. Upon opening the packet one may find aphorisms such as, “By honoring your words, you are honored” or “It is not what you have that is your greatness; it is what you can give.”

As chance would have it, as I was preparing the tea to accompany the writing of this post, I was greeted with the maxim: “Live to share.”

I will leave you with a favorite poem of mine and a wish – let’s be easy on ourselves.

Wild Geese

By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

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