I heard a joke a few years ago about a reporter interviewing an executive. The reporter asks, “How did you become successful?” The executive answers, “By making good decisions.” “Well, how do you make good decisions?” inquires the
reporter. “By experience,” says the executive. “Well then, how do you gain experience?” the exasperated reporter asks.
“By making bad decisions,” answers the executive.
Well, it is a bit more complicated than that, but I can’t think of a story that sums it up more succinctly. A successful career is a culmination of personal and professional decisions, mistakes and chances taken. Navigating successfully through the years will depend on deciding not “what” you want to be, but “who” you want to be. Staying true to that decision will make future decisions a lot easier.
As women, we possess a great level of intuition. Some call it a gut feeling, but “intuition” sounds a bit more palatable. Learning to trust that intuition takes courage and confidence and a willingness to accept the mistakes that flow from not trusting it.
Intuition in hiring is a good example. Ask one hundred executives whether they have ever made a bad hire. Chances are, every one of them will raise a hand, except the ones who are lying to themselves.
There are some principles I would encourage you to explore for examples in your own lives. Look around you. The most successful people have hired very smart people and have served them well. Servant leadership is an overused term and an underused skill.
Be known as a person of honesty and integrity. Treat people well, not because you think it will advance your career, but because it is the right thing to do. Successful careers are not absent of mistakes; they are just out numbered by things done right. Making good decisions often begins with the question: “What is the right thing to do?”