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Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 1pm

What are the Crown Jewels Within You?

What are the Crown Jewels Within You? main image

Yuki Takahashi

There are two maxims which have stuck with me since I was young. Maybe it was a kind of strategic approach on the part of my parents to teach their preschool daughter the importance of finding opportunities to shine and of regularly exercising of one’s talents.

Lifelong lessons

One maxim was, “If you have a real gemstone within you, even if it’s rough, one day someone will help you make it shine.” As a little girl who liked princess stories, I was excited, imagining lots of big, brilliant, colorful and uniquely shaped gemstones within me. Now I’ve grown up, I have realized there are real and fake gems, and learned to compare and contrast the authenticity of my gemstones against external standards, including social and generational norms.

Another maxim came from my first piano tutor: “Knives and forks made of sterling silver need to be used and polished every day.”

Self-reflection is the best polish for internal crown jewels

In my previous blog, I wrote about how the two ‘hands-on learning’ approaches employed on the Lancaster MBA allowed me to find both my core values and the courage to step out to the next level.

The processes I have gone through in learning hands-on are very closely linked to the two maxims in my heart. I could identify and polish my own gemstone through appreciating the various gemstones of my classmates. Now, I would say I am ready to really own my crown jewels: diligent and determined concentration, learning from what I see, curiosity and cool persistence. The foundation supporting these crown jewels is variety of skillsets learned over the last year, theoretical and practical. Best of all, self-reflection, single-minded listening and deliberation; Phronimos and phronesis – wisdom and prudence. These are the skills I need to use and polish every day.

Finding more gemstones with my Lancaster classmates

I am not alone in this self-development of course. Every classmate identified and developed their own crown jewels. For one classmate it was self-reflection and puzzle solving. Maximizing and reaffirming those assets during the MBA allowed her to differentiate herself. This brought her the confidence to change career. Another classmate explained, apart from expanding his adaptability in a tough situation, his experience of a diverse student base laden with different perspectives made him aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity. Understanding other cultures also made us both realize our own cultures more fully. Before thinking about where we will go, it was important to look at where we came from and what are we made of.

We have defined and developed some of the crown jewels within ourselves. Even more amazingly, some of us discovered totally new ones. How did we do this? I believe it is down to a combination of the enthusiasm the faculty put into the course and the class culture.

We have gone through so many mental tests and are proud of the enthusiasm which we put into every challenge. I strongly believe that enthusiasm and integrity beget enthusiasm and integrity.
Self-reflection brought me back to one year ago. I had belief in my own values and I expected to polish that belief alongside genuinely enthusiastic, intelligent and trustworthy people. I remember the mixture of fear and excitement on the first induction day as if it were yesterday. The experiences I’ve had on the Lancaster MBA and people I met through the MBA have surpassed my expectations. I sincerely appreciate all of the fantastic people who gave me an opportunity to learn alongside them and to cultivate myself at Lancaster.

The year went by quickly, but the difference it produced in me has been amazing.

About Yuki Takahashi

Originally from Japan, Yuki is an MBA student at Lancaster University Management School in the UK, from which she will graduate in 2014. After seven years in sales at the Nikko International Corporation she served as the managing director of Global Co-Star LLC. She studied drama and theatrical arts at Meiji University in Tokyo, focusing on traditional Japanese forms such as Noh and Kabuki and has spent time volunteering for the Shinagawa Boys and Girls Choir.

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