“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I am a proud 'Auntie' to six nieces and nephews, whose legs, confidence, and imaginations are growing like weeds. Each approaches life, in all its small, peculiar details, with curiosity and purpose. Mariclare is a spitfire – eager to invest herself in new things regardless of whether she is the best or not and to use her artistic talents to capture the moment. Liam is a lover – attune to the needs of others and ready to offer a sweet smile or hug to make anything better. Ciara lives in a world of her own design – refusing to be pushed around by bigger siblings. Though she welcomes company, she does not let it distract from her very busy agenda. Also quiet and purposeful, Emma is thought-filled and always wanting to learn more. She pushes me to be more precise, sincere, and forthcoming in the way I communicate with her. Benjamin has his own rhythm, outgoing and engaging, actively pulling me into his space and his thoughts. And, Max is a toddler convinced he can do anything. He insists on keeping up with the big kids and is unwilling to allow himself to give up until he does.

It takes courage to live the way these little guys do. They are unconcerned about stumbling and quick to pick themselves up. They are fully open to new ideas, people, and experiences. This openness inspires my own desire to commit to those people and projects that challenge me to be more purposeful, self-aware, and compassionate than I hope I can be. Still, it is one thing to wonder at this kind of courage and another to embody it consistently as a grown-up.

I have learned this the hard way at HBS as I have kept trying to reconcile my dream to work in the art market with financial hang-ups and uncertainty in identifying the path. But, today, I jumped in the puddle and accepted an offer to work for an art auction house. In many ways, I have the kids to thank for re-inspiring me to dream big and to re-imagine who I am and where I am headed.

— Alexandra Rethore