The Decision to Try

A great example of entrepreneurial mindset and an unlikely win in the face of inexplicable hurdles
Cecelia McDonald
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December 20, 2017
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Mentoring
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One of the most gratifying aspects of my executive coaching practice is watching the moves and evolution of my clients during and after our time together. My clients are generous enough to share the highlights often. I received this one from client Cecelia McDonald, whom I met while serving as the speaker coach to Tedx Boulder. Here’s Cece’s 2016 Tedx talk on being intersex.

I love seeing how a conscious, nimble, entrepreneurial mindset plays into day-to-day life that has nothing to do with startups. This story resonates as a great example of that. 

Cece's email starts here:

Hi Sue,

Cece McDonald and her GMAT Study Guide

I had a funny week, and thought you’d enjoy this story.  I was scrolling through my text messages, and I came across one from my brother James.  He told me about a full-tuition scholarship to Stanford business school, provided that the candidate is willing to move to the Midwest after graduation.  I had a brief moment of panic... what if I was missing opportunities?  And doesn’t it suck that my brain doesn’t work as well as it used to?  What if I look back and regret not going to business school?  But I hate business school... those people are lame.  Right?

After calming down the voices in my head, I thought, what would it look like to apply?  Just to try... no big deal, just show up, take the GMAT... ya know.  Try.

So I signed up on the evening of the 4th for a testing slot on the 11th, leaving me 6 days to study.  And I’m all stressed out, and I’m going up to Casper to see my man Jason and my car breaks down, and he drives an hour to come get me, and we get a trailer to tow my car, and all the while I’m thinking that I should be studying more, and what a long shot these scholarships are, and I’m praying and wondering if God really wants me to apply to business school anyway (it’s amazing the excuses the mind can come up with to keep us from trying). 

And the night before the test, I’m trying to take another one of the practice tests, but the Java runtime environment is no longer supported in chrome, and the java isn’t working in any other browser either, and I don’t have windows 10 so I can’t get the Microsoft Edge browser, so I guess those practice tests I got with the fancy “platinum” edition of the GMAT textbook are going to be left unused.  

And I’m planning on driving my roommate’s car up to Laramie, where the testing center is, but then I find out that the car is a stick shift, and its parking brake doesn’t work, so she leaves it in first gear when she turns it off so that it won’t roll away(???), and I’m like, nah, I think I’ll rent a car.  So I rent a car and drive up to Laramie to take the test, and my stuff almost doesn’t fit in the teensy tiny locker in the testing center, and they take these absolutely horrible photos of you with the little eyeball-shaped camera under the fluorescent lights, and then the test starts.

And the test isn’t asking me the really hard questions, like the dice roll and card deck probability questions, so that means that it’s probably just going OK, not great, but not terrible, and then at every break they flash the absolutely terrible photo of you that they just took with the eyeball machine, and you have your palm scanned every break with an FBI machine before you can go to the bathroom, and my eyeballs have started hurting from the concussion 3.5 years ago, which has left me needing $8,000 worth of vision therapy over the upcoming six months, and by the end of the test I’m thinking, “meh, we’ll see,” and my score flashes across the screen.

770.  99th percentile.

Moral of the story: Try, people.  Just try.  And if you can stay in abundance for a single solitary week, even when you feel like you have good reasons to complain, then good things will come your way.  

Thank you for helping me stay in abundance!  :-)

-- Cece

Cecelia McDonald

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