The professional landscape can be overwhelming and the learning curve steep. Aspiring professional women can overcome these challenges by embracing certain “do’s.” Often learned over time, I share four such “do’s” here for early guidance.

First, understand and accept that there are no shortcuts. Sacrifices, mistakes, hard work and success are inseparable bedfellows. I am aware of absolutely no sustainable shortcuts to developing your career. If there are, remember your reputation is your most valuable asset. Do not knowingly put it at risk.

Second, believe you are fabulous, capable and successful. The heading says it all. This is you today, not tomorrow. No permission slip is required. No apologies are necessary. Be mindful too that a self-promotion mindset is enhanced when you use your manners. Remember the ageless proverb, “as a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.”

Third, take calculated risks. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. For example, you may propose an unpopular counter-position to your key sponsor’s new marketing strategy. Whether you establish buy-in on your perspective is not as important as the professional capital you can earn by providing a credible alternative to that strategy. No risk, no reward.

Fourth, identify and live in harmony with your core values. I define core values as the key principles guiding our decisions, actions and interactions in the workplace. They help establish why we do what we do in the business world, while defining our business roles. When working in harmony with our core values, I believe success is inevitable because our passions and purposes are aligned.

My core values, including excellence, service, mentorship, sponsorship, stewardship, inclusion, achievement, success, power, and influence, are drawn from my understanding of the scripture that reads: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48 NIV). For me, this is the story of a trusted, gifted and prosperous steward, who must understand that her gifts are to be used to benefit others, as well as herself. It confirms a universal truth that with professional success comes increased responsibility to others.

Identify and reflect upon your core values when your work is challenging. That reflective time will hopefully replenish the fortitude you need to get to or stay in the corner suite