The single most significant element that has played a role in my life achievements, both at the office and in my personal life, is my attitude. Starting in my childhood, I learned that a positive attitude was the key to success in both personal and career arenas.

The basis of good leadership lies not in your educational credentials or the experiences you bring to a role. It is intimately tied to the character that you bring to your organization. One does not automatically attain the leadership ranks simply by being given a title. Rather, leadership is earned by what you do, the job content that you bring, and, most importantly, the person that you are.

I have learned that to lead, you must be respected. And to be respected, you must earn the trust of others. You must demonstrate a true desire to see others succeed; and you must work toward your own success through your personal contributions, not by flying on the wings of others. You must face new challenges with a can-do attitude and approach the many changes that life and business bring as continuous learning opportunities.

As an example, at one point in my career, I took the position of regional vice president for Latin America, just as Argentina fell into a major currency crisis. It would have been easy to give up on the assignment because all signals pointed to a long period of financial hardship. Nonetheless, I embraced the role as an opportunity to learn and make a difference. I worked to ensure staff that they had support, that payroll would be made, and that our clients would be served. I developed a committed team and a loyal set of clients, many of whom are still part of my life today. As the fiscal crisis stabilized, the business thrived. I learned more about crisis management and commitment than at any other time in my life.

My advice for others is to embrace life’s challenges with gusto. see each hurdle as an opportunity to learn and to become a better person—and live life to its fullest!