You can’t be what you can’t see.” I love this quote and think it reflects what it takes to be successful—imagination, creativity and vision. I believe success begins with imagination sparked by dreams of who you can be and what you can accomplish. As we mature, particularly in corporate life, imagination leads to a vision that drives us and becomes the substance of our ambition and competitiveness.
For me, it started in the small, racially divided Pennsylvania town where I was raised. As a girl, I observed people close to me who overcame perceived limitations based on race, status and resources to achieve goals far beyond what conventional wisdom would suggest. That motivated me to let myself imagine what I could do, the difference I could make, the places I could go.
As a young woman, I began to consider “places I could go” both literally and figuratively. I began to travel the world—for business and leisure. The more exotic the desti- nation, the better. Travel allows me to expand my frame of reference; to form new perspectives on people, places and events; and to extend my horizon for what I can accomplish. I believe that young women today can effectively expand their vision through travel experiences. Pick a different continent each trip. Go deep into a country, not just to the major cities. Let travel help you grow.
While creating experiences through activities such as traveling, it is also important to absorb experiences wherever you are. Talk to people. Find out what motivates them. Learn how they create and channel passion and share in the lives of others. Hear what others say and make personal application.
Often, I’ll talk to young women who lament that they haven’t yet found their vision or purpose. To them I say: Keep moving. Keep creating your experiences. First, focus on the tasks at hand and allow your good work to precede you. Second, find opportunities to interact with great people—a neighbor, mentor or some- one you meet at the store. Strive to be interested, not just interesting. While you’re doing these things, “it” will find you. Keep in mind, “it” might not be one vision or purpose—“it” could be a series of visions and purposes over your career. Not surprisingly, great people will find you, too. Undoubtedly, you will need many of those great people to help you along the way.