To me, success at any level is only possible if you believe in yourself. As an executive and mother of two daughters, my advice to my children and those I’ve mentored in the field of law or business has largely been the same:
DON’T RUN FROM ADVERSITY. Unquestionably, there will be pitfalls and lows in your career and in your life. Use these times as opportunities to see what you’re made of, and rise above the challenge. I firmly believe that the true test of character is how you react to adversity. I have seen more than one eyebrow arch when I tell folks that being diagnosed with cancer was one of the best things that ever happened to me. My priorities, my perspectives and my career were forever changed, but my life seems so much more meaningful as a result of my diagnosis. You’d be amazed where you find those silver linings!
DO IT FOR YOU. We’re all motivated by different things. I wanted to be the first person in my family to attend college. Sure, I wanted to please my parents and make them proud. But more importantly, I needed to prove to myself that I could do it; that with my family’s work ethic and my determination, my dream could really happen. I’ve found that success is so much sweeter when you’re satisfied not only with the outcome, but also with yourself.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Whether you’re paying it forward by a simple act of kindness, standing up for an unpopular position or making a bet-thecompany call at work, recognize that you have tremendous power to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t get me wrong; this is sometimes easier said than done, as I’ve had to remind myself on more than one occasion—like when I’m feeling guilty about spending too much time at work and not enough time with my family, or vice versa. When I have those self-doubts, and wonder whether what I’m doing is making a difference, I look no further than my daughters and realize that being a positive role model makes an enormous difference in their lives.