A successful career for me is not about the amount of money you have made or the title you have achieved. It is when you can look back and say that you have earned a living in a role that you were passionate about, contributed value to and gleaned value from while having fun.

The success of my career growth didn’t just happen. I had to work for it. I received my undergraduate degree working full time and attending school at night. I had the same challenge while earning my MBA. However, I knew what I wanted to achieve and was willing to work for it. All along, I was blessed with the coaching, support, insight and encouragement of family, friends and managers.

A number of mentor-type relationships exposed me to many different things, culturally as well as professionally. It is because of mentoring that I transitioned from an administrative secretary role to a corporate officer leading the human resources function. It is important to have mentors and coaches in your midst. Don’t wait for one to approach you or to be assigned to you. Align yourself with others you have observed and want to learn from. You would be surprised by how willing people are to help. It is a win-win situation. There is learning at both ends of the relationship

Call upon several mentors or coaches during your career. You could benefit from diversity of experience and knowledge that may not reside in one person. Reach out to those who are aligned with your interests, but don’t underestimate the learning you can reap from exposing yourself to others outside of your typical circle.

It is equally important to reach behind as well as forward when it comes to mentoring. Mentoring can be conducted at any stage of life. College students can reach out to high schoolers. Early career professionals can reach out to college students, and so on. There is always someone who could benefit from your experiences.

In all, I encourage you to have a full life. Prepare yourself to be the best, share your blessings and make sure you take time off to enjoy your life.