My advice is simple: prepare yourself; set goals; be true to yourself; let your passion show; turn adversity into opportunity; and don’t take yourself too seriously.

There’s no excuse for lack of preparation, whether it’s getting the education you need for the career you desire or preparing for a big presentation. Take the time up front to plan, and allow plenty of time to adjust and refine. You can’t be creative when you’re under lastminute stress. Advance preparation reduces stress and gives you confidence.

Part of preparation is setting realistic goals for yourself. Aim high and you’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish. Celebrate your successes and raise the bar for even greater achievement. When you fail, give yourself 24 hours of mourning and then pull yourself together and get started again.

Being true to yourself is all about values. Values may be spiritual, personal, or professional. Know who you are, let others know, and never compromise your values.

Being your best self brings you peace and enhances your relationships with others.

Success is based on passion. Choose your career based on what you love—what truly excites and challenges you. Ask yourself every day if this is the job you really want. If not, start immediately looking for one that truly inspires you. No one forces us to continue in a job that doesn’t fuel our passion.

Turn adversity into opportunity. When I got breast cancer in 2003, a colleague and fellow survivor told me that the breast cancer journey could be one of the best things that ever happened to me, and she was right. I learned that I could survive a life-threatening disease and that my support system was much richer than I ever imagined. That experience has enhanced all areas of my life and given me boundless hope and enthusiasm for the future.

I’m amazed how serious young people are today. They seem so focused on getting ahead that they forget to have fun. Live each day to the fullest, and make sure you laugh out loud at least once every day. And be brave enough to laugh at yourself.