Be open and receptive. I’ve tried hard not to overplan my career and to be open and receptive to new opportunities. I have many varied interests, and these are reflected in my professional and personal life. I thrive in environments where the challenges are greatest, so I often have sought out projects or roles that others shy away from. Succeeding in these roles has allowed me to earn credibility and broadened my career options. Being open to taking calculated risks has resulted in an exciting career journey that has crossed disciplines, industries, states and oceans.
Get grounded and be resilient. I have learned through gardening that roots make all the difference. It’s important to be steadfast and consistent in your basic beliefs, values and principles, and to nourish them often. Career journeys involve pitfalls and setbacks that can blow you away like a bush in a storm if you don’t have deep, strong roots. If your roots are strong and your values are intact, your resiliency will allow you to stand tall and stay the course.
Surround yourself with excellence. Early on in my career as a manager, I began incorporating “develop great people” into my annual goals, and I’ve kept it there ever since. Once I saw how much I could accomplish by working through others, I made it a point to identify people with top raw talent and to develop, reward and promote them so that they and I could continue to flourish. If you do what you love and surround yourself with excellent people who love to do the same thing, you can’t help but excel.
Give a hand up. I’ve been blessed with a lot of mentors. Some have looked like me; others have not. Some have served as career coaches; others as life coaches. I have found mentors among my work colleagues, physicians, family and friends. I haven’t called them all mentors, but I’ve recognized them by their grounded wisdom, sage counsel and helpful deeds. In turn, I have strived to be just as generous with my time and to offer others a willing ear, sound advice and, whenever possible, an unwavering hand up the corporate ladder. There’s nothing better!