One of my favorite parts about my internship this summer was the exposure to the company’s management committee that the interns in my department were given. I personally love reading about successful people as well as their habits, so receiving the opportunity to actually sit and chat with these people was an incredible experience. The fact that all of the successful people at the chat were women was doubly inspiring. This open chat consisted of the Chief Sales and Solutions Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, and the Vice President of Global Sales training. Interestingly enough there seemed to be a lot of commonalities between the advice that all of the women gave, despite their varied backgrounds.
Note: The responses written are mostly paraphrased and no names are given as I want to emphasize the advice, rather than the person who gave it.
The following is in the format of a question, answer, and contextual explanation if necessary.
Q: What is your daily routine for personal development?
‘ I push myself daily and try to expose myself to new things. Throughout my career I’ve volunteered for various positions that I’ve had no prior background in.’
-In essence, she wanted to convey the idea that trying unfamiliar things allowed her to develop parts of herself that weren’t already strong. This made her work on her weaknesses and increase her overall skill set.
‘ Every day I write two things that I learned that day or two things that were important to me.’
-The main idea behind this statement was to develop a trackable habit of continual learning. She stated that if she got to the part of her day where it was time to write and she hadn’t learned anything that she would change that by either going online or picking up a book to learn something and then write about it.
Q: What is a key trait(s) that you think we as interns should develop?
-This was specifically referencing having patience in one’s career as she noted that we as people are eager to get to our goals quickly; however, she explained that it takes time to develop the skills and be ready for the responsibility of the roles that we desire.
‘ Having field sales experience is a must.’
-Take this statement with a grain of salt as I was in the Sales Operations department and two out of the three women had a background in Sales. The core of this statement was that she felt the negotiation skills learned through sales was invaluable in progressing you within your career.
‘Always find a way to get an answer.’
-She basically conveyed that their are no excuses for ignorance. If there is information that you need and don’t have readily available you should begin problem solving to identify who has the answer and the various ways that you can get it.
‘Having a diverse perspective in every capacity helps.’
-Although many of us enjoy living in our own realities, every different person has their own reality. Being able to step into another’s perspective allows us to begin understanding the broad range of people that we may interact with on a daily basis.
‘Critical thinking, communications, writing, and strategic thinking.’
-She personally developed these skills through volunteering herself for different experiences.
Q: How did you advance so far in your career?
‘By having a thirst for knowledge and learning in the moment so that I could participate in the moment.’
-Here, she discussed one of her habits of quickly googling things while within settings such as meetings so that she could then participate in the current conversation and not just observe it.
‘Taking on special assignments that allowed me to get out of my comfort zone.’
‘I would go into a new job position and figure it out. After working the position for a while, I’d move on to something new.’
‘When stepping into a new job ask yourself, “How do I step into that job and make my mark on it?”, “What can I do to make things better?”‘
“Embrace every experience and maximize it. Don’t just rush to your next one.”
Q: Did you like every job that you held within your career?
All: “Absolutely not.”
‘It’s not the job, it’s what you put into it.’
“Bloom where you’re planted.”
The response to this question overall was that you’re not going to enjoy everything that you do, point blank. In this situation, the response is not to complain, but to do your best in whatever you’re doing despite your dislike of it.
How do you strike a good work life balance?
“Be in the moment when you’re home.”
‘There is no such thing as balance. You learn to manage your personal stress load.’
‘Prioritize your family and let those around you know that it’s your priority. When you’re with your family, be with them.’
Through varied perspectives, the women all talked about how no two days were the same with their families and that one of the most important things that they did was to plan. For example, if their child had swim meets on Thursdays everyone in their office knew and work responsibilities would be planned around this.
Another aspect of the work/home balance that they harped on was being entirely present with their family while they were together and not mixing in work by doing something like checking emails while with family or during a child’s sport game.
I know that this list may seem like a lot but all of their advice sources back to the following key concepts: planning, being present, working hard no matter what the job is, and a constant pursuit of knowledge and personal growth.
These concepts are more so principles to live by and everyone can do them, so wake up tomorrow and start living “success”!
peace + love