So, I worked for years in order to build a profile around one goal: Getting into a business school. Everything from my current career to my extra-curricular activities were carefully chosen to build my profile. However, when I had initially planned on pursuing an MBA, I had the financial resources to pursue it. Then, I went bankrupt and now I don't have the resources. Also, I don't want to take on debt. Practically speaking, I will have to find a job instead of working for myself. But, the motivation is simply not there. I feel I need a new ambition, but I can't simply seem to think of what that could be. I have $40k in the bank which will last only a short while. Where do I go from here? How do I motivate myself to reinvent myself? How do I pickup the pieces?
Why does your original goal have to be unattainable?
Figure out another way to generate the money to go to your MBA school. That should draw you on.
Honestly, you pick up the pieces by picking up the pieces. Wallowing in self-pity is pointless. We all go through ups and downs. If you get beaten once and give up, you won't be a winner. The key is in the getting up again.
Every day there are goals which have plans for their attainment invalidated by events. The planners keep the goal...and come up with new plans to reach them. Perhaps a review of Think And Grow Rich will help you.
It has been a goal of mine to be a public figure. During the years I was 27 - 30, 4 full years, I bent my entire life towards becoming a council member in my home town. I kept a fairly easy management job so I could focus on evening activities supporting reaching my goal. I joined fraternal organizations and rose in them. I was appointed to and participated heavily in committees of council. I produced press in the local papers and got the city's non-profits and business groups talking, and more. I viewed this as no less than a "life purpose" thing.
The 2005 election came and went...and as if I had been standing at train platform, waiting for the thing to come along that was so important to me, only to find that it blew on past without stopping--I lost.
If you feel anything like the sense of loss and confusion I felt at that moment...after 4 years of deliberate, consistent effort, and rising high in the related fields...coming so close to what I desired, only to have it fly away...then I understand how you're feeling right now.
The goal didn't change, but the means of achieving it did.
It took at least three years for the sense of bitterness to fade.
I moved thousands of miles away to a different country.
I changed jobs and got an entirely new focus.
But the goal didn't change.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and ask yourself: What out of the MBA education is what I really want?
Is it the diploma?
Is it the skillset?
Is it the prestige?
Is it the key to unlocking some great job opportunities?
Is it something else?
I'll bet you can learn and apply whatever these things are some other way...or you can figure out how to get back on top and afford the program.
First thing to do is get your head straight. You know the old homily, and I am not usually one to repeat them, but it is apt for you:
The Man Who Thinks He Can
by Walter D. Wintle
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world we find
Success being with a fellow's will;
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are:
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
I'm going to narrow my feedback to a very specific thing you've said: "I will have to find a job instead of working for myself" - and at the risk of sounding sarcastic ask you if you'd only hire yourself if you had an MBA? My guess is no. Break down the connection that you see between an MBA (which are almost universally part of a corporate management track - not a requirement for entrepreneurship) and working for yourself.
If working for yourself is what you want to do - chase that down. If you feel that the "dream house" version of the business you wanted to build requires more experience / credentials than you have now - you don't need an MBA - find a proxy for your "dream house" business and pitch a tent on that same land. Find a way to start something right now that can grow into your dream business - even if it's a few degrees separated from the final goal. I talk to people every week who are facing similar challenges, and we are always able to identify a path forward with the resources at hand.
Shoot me a message and I'll elaborate.
I understand how disappointing it can be to have had a goal for a long time only to have it quashed.
I wonder, what were your reasons for setting this goal in the first place? How would an MBA support your career goals? What would pursing an MBA give you? Do you have a clear plan for how you would have used the MBA once you’d graduated?
An MBA from a good school undoubtedly has value in the world of business; but ask yourself, is it the degree that you’re after - or the education? The prestige of the degree on your CV is one thing, while the act of learning is another. Are there other ways to achieve these same benefits without the MBA?
You mention working for yourself - is starting your own business an important goal for you? If so, I think most people would agree that an MBA is not the way to go. Can you get more relevant experience elsewhere - working for another startup, for example? Or taking on different roles and projects that will build your skills in important areas such as marketing and sales?
If you believe that an MBA is the right path for you, then I would focus on how you can make this financially viable. If this really is your big dream and you are certain that it is the key to achieving your career goals, then this will give you the motivation to continue working hard to make this dream a reality - even if it means a delay as you work and save up the money to be able to finance your studies.
Setting meaningful goals is key to having the motivation to achieve them.
Get in touch if you’d like to work through what it is you’re really after in terms of career goals and to pull together a plan to help you achieve them!