As I reflect on my accomplishments, both personal and professional, there is a common thread woven through all of them—the lessons that I’ve learned from others. These lessons have come from individuals who have shared their experiences, stories, and wisdom with me in a number of ways and on numerous topics. I’m fortunate that over the years I’ve had people who were and remain willing to support my career and personal development through coaching and mentoring. But none of their efforts would have been effective if I were not willing to listen, consider, and apply the many lessons.
A career in corporate America is something you have to build. The journey can take many different paths depending on your decisions and actions. I learned early on that a person does not have to forge a career path alone. To be successful at whatever I’ve attempted to do, I recognized I needed to, first, be focused on my task; second, be committed to performing that task with excellence; third, deliver—often beyond expectation; and fourth, seek guidance and support from appropriate people as needed.
I’ve also learned to seek multiple perspectives on an issue. Often we only seek or rely on advice from those with whom we feel most comfortable, who may not provide all the information required for the best course of action. I’ve often sought information from those who may not have been ardent supporters and from those who were my champions simply to have the widest possible view.
For me, it is equally important to pass on what I have learned to others. It is my responsibility to reach out to others. I strongly believe in respecting the legacy of history and experience, and that there is no replacement for wisdom, no matter what your age, station in life, or where you are positioned in the corporate hierarchy.