I grew up believing there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. That same belief carried me through college and into corporate America. I also believe that having a mentor—someone who is willing to share knowledge and offer sound advice to help you advance to the next level—is vitally important for anyone who desires to succeed professionally.

My first mentor was my mother,who raised my sister and me without much assistance. We were latchkey kids and had many reasons not to succeed. Success is a choice and sometimes a sacrifice. I am so blessed to have had a mother and family who provided me with insight and focus.

I firmly believe that, as you start to climb up the corporate ladder, you must have a vision for your life and specific goals for your career. Sometimes it is easy to put other people’s goals and dreams ahead of your own. But at some point, you must visualize how you want your career to unfold. If your objective is to become CEO, chart the course and determine what is necessary to reach your goal.

Approach life and work with passion. Take on at least one new challenge each day. Maybe it’s time to finish that MBA. Whatever it is, get out of your comfortzone and pursue it fervently. My current role is a great example of taking on a challenge. Before I was promoted, I managed the client services side of our business, focusing on meeting policyholders’ needs. In the last year, I’ve had to completely change my thought process into making decisions that impact the company’s bottom line. The transition was not simple, but overcoming fear of the unknown while reaching new heights of personal and professional growth was worth the challenge.

Professional and individual growth require a certain amount of risk, but you must stay the course and believe in your abilities. See the value in what you do every day. Ask yourself, “Am I getting joy out of what I’m doing?” Finally, make time in every work day to transition from your home life to the office and then from the office to home again. A healthy work/life balance maintains both professional and personal well-being.

Succeeding at whatever you set out to do can be a challenge; but the goals you set can be achieved when you surround yourself with a solid support network of family and friends..

Don’t be afraid to take risks, see challenges as growth opportunities, weigh your options, choose wisely, learn from your mistakes, and embrace change. Remember, life is more about giving than taking.