Throughout my career, I’ve had a multitude of experiences that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. While not all of them were good ones, I learned something from each of them that helped me chart a course for my career. Below is my “Top 10 List of Lessons Learned.” Some thoughts are original, some I picked up along the way, but all have been amplified through my personal experience.

  1. QUIT WHINING. If you don’t like your circumstances; change them. In the end, it’s not what you think about in life that matters; it’s what you do that counts.
  2. WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING GOOD, TELL SOMEONE. Don’t rely on others to keep track of your accomplishments. Make them known, respectfully.
  3. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. After I was promoted to vice president at a company where I had worked for 10 years, I questioned the chairman, my mentor, on why it had taken so long for me to receive this recognition. His response: “It never came up. Why didn’t you tell someone you wanted to be a vice president?”
  4. EVERYONE NEEDS A CHAMPION. Seek out a mentor, now.
  5. STEP UP. Don’t be afraid to take on new assignments. Step up to new challenges and venture outside of your comfort zone. Become known as someone who finds solutions, not just identifies problems.
  6. FIT MATTERS. I’ve seen more executive women leave organizations because they didn’t fit with the leadership team than because they were incompetent. Fit matters, but it doesn’t mean one size fits all. Choose companies and teams that value diversity and diverse thinking.
  7. WORK IS PERSONAL. By now we’ve all heard: “It’s not personal, it’s business.” To me, if it involves people, it’s personal. Period.
  8. NOT EVERYONE IS INVESTED IN YOUR SUCCESS. Recognize it early and move on.
  9. BE PASSIONATE AND MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN. If you can’t be passionate about what you do, why bother? When it comes to change, ask yourself: “If not you, then who?”
  10. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. Most of us didn’t get to where we are today on our own. While we are proud of our individual and collective accomplishments, they mean little in the long run if we don’t reach out and help those who will come after us.