For me, inner work entails learning, self-reflecting, and integrating experiences, so that I evolve emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. It means maturing, and gaining strength and substance as a person—taking whatever happens to me and using it as fodder for growth. My inner work formed me as a person and a professional, and serves as the heart and engine of my life.

The focus of my inner work has been conscious and intentional—learning to live my life with courage, grace, integrity, truth, kindness, and positive contribution. That requires me to use my challenges, turning points, crucible experiences, relationships as my laboratory for growth.

My most important “inner work” includes the following:

• Not being so afraid to fail that I don’t try; and if I fail, surviving, and moving on
• Speaking hard truths in the spirit of solution, not blame
• Telling myself the truth
• Owning my ambition and doing something about it
• Being open to different ways of being, and learning there is no such thing as “the way”
• Recognizing Right Fights, Wrong Fights, and How to Fight Right
• Knowing when to walk away, change, or give something up
• Understanding what it means to own myself and my life—and not be a victim
• Making peace with the fact that I can’t control others
• Realizing it’s not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but our interpretation

My inner work has a theme, which is to take everything that happens and make it serve, empower, and enrich me—even the bad things. As a result, I can’t wait for every day to come. Carpe diem.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
My competitive formula is this: Provide distinctive value that my clients can’t get elsewhere. This requires me to rigorously monitor global trends, thought leaders, innovations, and best practices, and translate this information into useable frameworks, insights, tools, and skills my clients can apply to increase their effectiveness.

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
I never had a true mentor/sponsor who took a committed and active Interest in me—a guardian angel, so to speak. Essentially, I self-mentored. I have identified highly successful or effective individuals, watched them carefully, or met with them. Then I emulated them, integrating their strengths or ways of being into my repertoire. I do not think we are always lucky enough to have a strong dedicated sponsor or mentor, but it does not have to stop us from learning from those around us. You could say I created a tapestry of mentorship.

On Facing Challenges
My biggest challenge was starting a consulting company in my 20s with no clue what that meant. It was pure commitment and determination that drove my business partner and I to persevere—to invent, reinvent, problem solve, overcome obstacles, learn, fail, and keep going. It was hard, but extraordinarily satisfying.

Madelyn’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
You must love what you do! We spend more time working then we spend doing anything else. If you don’t love what you do, and if it doesn’t nourish you and fulfill you, you will have a long haul of a life. It does not mean every job will be right, but when it’s not, make a conscious decision to either work hard to get a job you can thrive in, or change your mindset so you derive satisfaction from your current job. But remember, without passion and enjoyment you will never thrive.