Growing up, the third girl in a poor Asian family of five other siblings, I learned to take each day as an opportunity to seek new frontiers. This could be challenging a status quo or finding new ways to get things done with what you have. Avoiding the path of least resistance is oftentimes an uphill struggle, but the rewards are well worth it.

I have not always had a successful career. I recalled one of my early jobs in a Fortune Top 10 company. During the first year, I naively assumed that securing the job was the achievement, and I failed to contribute to my full capabilities. I had an atrocious year-end performance review. I concluded that i was the “victim” of an incompetent line manager. It took me a week to realize that I was responsible for the outcome—I own the first action to ensure that I have a successful career. Now, I go into each job aiming to leave the organization and business in a better place than when I first joined.

I have been able to stretch my capabilities and knowledge through a variety of assignments in Shell. When I was offered the role of VP, Global IT Services, I thought I would surely be promoted to my level of incompetence and the likelihood of failure could be high. I accepted the challenge and the assignment became one of the highlights of my career. It was here I learned that a successful leader needs to have a keen nose to sniff out the business opportunities, a strong stomach to make the tough decisions, and the tenacity to see through what you started, despite obstacles.

The word “I” is used numerous times here. This is done deliberately. I believe that a successful individual takes charge of his/her life and takes personal accountability for his/her actions. a successful individual also recognizes that “I” is one of many – inclusion of others and their perspectives will almost always lead to better outcomes.