You know the expression about wanting to have your cake and eat it too? It’s never been more relevant, or more achievable. We’re talking about your career, after all. It’s a matter of your development, your purpose and ultimately your happiness and sense of fulfillment.

A growing body of research suggests that mindset is the key. How people approach changing their lives in big and small ways. At Loyola Marymount University, they love the ground-breaking work by author and Polarity Partnerships Chairman Barry Johnson, in which he explores the importance of identifying then navigating “polarities.” By polarities he means the dynamic tensions, the seemingly contradictory choices we all face and must act on every day. Think yin and yang, and the conscious decision to embrace both (thereby having your cake and eating it, too). A few examples can help clarify.

Make vs. Buy

Don’t feel compelled to choose one. This applies to organizations and individuals alike. “Should we buy the talent and the skills we’ll need tomorrow? Or should we develop those skills from within?”

For organizations: Yes, develop your people. That’s an investment that will pay near- and long-term dividends. And, when appropriate, do bring in new talent and perspectives. Loyola Marymount University can be your partner in each – LMU’s mid-career business programs will season your team with needed skills, tools and techniques, while each new cohort of LMU graduates provides your organization a pool of high-achieving talent on which to draw.

For individuals: Proactively develop your skillset by leveraging the abundance of free learning resources available off and online. And, when it makes sense, absolutely invest in structured, high-impact learning experiences. LMU offers top-ranked MBA and Executive MBA programs, as well as a growing portfolio of one- to three-day seminars on current and practical specialty subjects.

Structured vs. Individualized

Again, you needn’t pick one. The best learning and development programs are conscientiously designed and delivered. They incorporate relevant content, organize it in an accessible, “building block” structure, and engage students on the topics in ways that are memorable, stimulating and appropriate to the subject. That’s how LMU’s business programs work, with classes that bring together 20 to 30 professionals at a time.

Your career and your development plans are, of course, unique to you. You can and should enjoy individualized learning experiences that resonate with you. At LMU, a student favorite is a hybrid experience that involves sailing. At the start of, and midway through the LMU Executive MBA Program, students travel to Long Beach Yacht Club. There, they are assigned crew duties aboard 37-foot “Catalina” style sailboats. Many have never been aboard a sailboat before, but over the course of two days learn to sail, function as an effective team at sea, and ultimately race against other boat crews. Thanks to LMU’s unique team of instructors, which includes former Olympians, Navy SEALs, and professional sail racers, our EMBA students grow as individuals, as team members and as leaders.

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