My mother taught me, “You will always be a freshman in life.” She believed that you start over frequently and learn constantly. Her wisdom has served me well in my career. It has given me a strong sense of self and a lot of resiliency.
I have worked in eight different industries in 28 years. At each job, I have “started over” and experienced an enormous learning curve. Remembering her words minimized my frustration and allowed me to excel quickly. My mother also was my first and No. 1 mentor. In the business world, a mentor—albeit an overused word—is essential to your survival and success. These purveyors of wisdom come in all shapes and sizes. The key is to find someone who cares enough about you to be brutally honest and who can read the landscape. I have been lucky to have had several throughout my career.
The concept of balancing work and home is a sheer myth. There will be times when work will be the predominant focus in your life and times when an ill father will be the sole focus of your attention. Staying grounded in who you are and what is of real importance to you is what works. It is the myth buster. You do not have to hand-stitch the Halloween costume when buying the latest Spiderman outfit is sufficient. It’s more important to have the energy to trick-or-treat with your 5-year-old than to parade your Martha Stewart genes through the neighborhood.
Today, you can have it all. The difference, in these times, is that you must define what it means to have it all—not Martha Stewart, Betty Friedan or Good Housekeeping magazine. Over time, I have revised my definition of having it all: I have a rich marriage, a challenging career and friends who I consider family.
I have three core beliefs to share to ensure your advancement and personal happiness:
- CRAVE LEARNING. Love to learn and always stay on top of your game. The minute you become complacent, you have lost. Being a freshman is good.
- KEEP THE FAITH. As you advance, the challenges are bigger and the shots others take at you become bigger.
- ALWAYS MAINTAIN A TRUE SENSE OF POSSIBILITY. The world’s wide open to you for whatever you want.
You do manage your own destiny. Go forth and do good.