From Nairobi to the IMD campus in Lausanne, Waithera shares some decision-making and resilience tips.

My second to last dinner with my family before returning to Lausanne was one of reflection. My parents once mentioned when I was very young that the dinner table is where you learn the most crucial life lessons, and they were right. On this particular evening, we debated about reduced dimensionality when faced with complex decision making – a couple of hours later, I had to make the decision to travel back to Lausanne amid the pandemic.

In decomposing the complex decision of whether or not to travel, I quickly started to realize that problem solving, critical thinking and decision making are independent and not mutually exclusive. My leadership coach throughout this year has emphasized the importance of compartmentalizing and there was no better time to put this into practice.

Ultimately, my decision to travel back to Lausanne was based on an iterative process of overcoming cognitive biases that creep in when complex decisions need to be made, keeping in mind that these dimensions are not orthogonal. This implies that trying to optimise them all at once was going to be sub-optimal. Therefore, I decided to rephase the problem from, ‘I have to be in Lausanne for face-to-face classes’ to, ‘What progressive steps can I take to ensure I get back to Lausanne?’

Ultimately, getting back to Lausanne to attend face to face class, do exams and focus on job search and networking were top on my priority list.

If anything, the pandemic had afforded me an opportunity to spend 14 weeks of quality time with my family, my cup was full and overflowing. Leaving the airport, a tear jerked down my left eye as I recalled delightful moments from going to the open air markets for grocery shopping to evening runs.

As I settled back in Lausanne, I could not help but reflect on the Masterclass Series on Resilience by Rob Lilwall which emphasized nurturing a growth mindset and being aware of sabotage. Generally, saying yes to everything implies you will always have a lot to think about, which in itself is exhausting. Therefore, continuously practice self-care, focus on defined goals, be a joy multiplier, practice gratitude and choose a 10/10 attitude every day.

As we approach a jam-packed second half of the year, kicking off with exams, job search and interviews, International Consulting Projects and the Discovery Expedition, the four takeaways I will keep in mind from the Masterclass are:  

In conclusion, as we move away from defining ourselves soley by exterior factors that ebb and flow, many of us are realising two things. Firstly, we are all unlearning and relearning as we remain in alignment with our deep intuition, desires and hopes. Secondly, as seasoned professionals, we have faced some failures which have humbled us, a reminder of how fleeting traditional measures of success can be, and hence the need for us to define success either in terms of manifesting a vision or a mission.


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