Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Paths to success...

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.  (David Brinkley)

I smiled when I read this quote because it so reminded me of my own path, strewn with the rubble of past mistakes and successes, and yes a few tossed bricks along the way.  I am often asked to speak at various events and while reluctant, (I have a natural fear of public speaking) I do it anyway, because it challenges me.  Challenging oneself is perhaps one of my most favorite things to talk about and one of the most important strategies to becoming successful in business. 

At age 19, I postponed my college education and embarked on an nontraditional career path by answering phones and doing administrative work for a small IT recruiting firm and then making cold calls on my own in the evening.  Without much help, guidance, support or degree, I took a risk and jumped out of my comfort zone and became a student of business in the real world.  I accepted any work that was offered to me and took on as much as I could do on my own.  The risk paid off.  Later when I joined NextGen in 2000, I was a recruiter full time and loved it.  In 2010, I became Vice President and I have enjoyed every challenge and opportunity that the company has provided.   

Recently, I was named President of our firm and I accept this charge as both an honor and a privilege.  In addition, with every step forward in one’s career, there comes more responsibility and this too, I take very seriously. 

In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg  makes the analogy that a career is more like a jungle gym, rather than a ladder and she also asks, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid”?  I have taken this to heart in my own career and pass along this same advice to some of my junior staffers.  And, in support of David Brinkley, I too believe that the bricks others throw, the obstacles that impede, are all part of the learning process and path to success.  As a person in a leadership role, I recognize that helping pave the way for others to advance in their professional careers is equally important.  

I genuinely believe that to be successful in business; one must continually take on new challenges, look to mentors, create a support network and be an ambassador to change.  Always strive to learn new things, maintain a strong work ethic and be willing to take risks.  If you envision your career as a jungle gym, think in terms of competing with yourself.  It strikes a balance if you are your own worst critic and your most vocal cheerleader.  Most importantly… find your passion 

Lori Eaton

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