My response to obstacles has always been resilience; knowing that overcoming obstacles builds strength and teaches great lessons. For me, resilience has been about having a vision and a plan for me and being flexible and open enough to allow new opportunities and other perspectives to enhance my vision. If I had been “stuck” in the box that was my vision when I started my career, I would have missed many professional and personal opportunities.
Resilience is also about challenges and disappointments, and how I have chosen to “accommodate” them in my life. Challenges and disappointments have been personal, professional, and sometimes both. Seventeen years ago, I had the privilege of giving birth to a very special child, Brianna. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and “global” developmental delays. One of the major lessons that I learned through this experience is that I never really have to do anything alone. There were people who had been down this road before me. Finding them, reaching out to them, and admitting that I needed assistance was key. Since then it has gotten easier each time, at work and in other aspects of my life, to say I can’t do this by myself; I need assistance.
Another lesson: I may not have known the answers to a lot of questions, but I knew what was right for me and what wasn’t. Be open to all perspectives and trust your own voice. Both putting Brianna in an institution and giving up my career were unacceptable to me.
There were not a lot of examples of women with high-powered careers doing this, so I had to just step out there, trust myself, depend on others, and make mistakes. Finally, I learned that one of the most amazing and powerful women that I know is me; always listen to yourself.
Part of my favorite book passage is, “authentic success is feeling good about who you are, appreciating where you’ve been, celebrating your achievements, and honoring the distance you’ve already come…” Defined this way, authentic success is my constant companion.