It’s Not the Challenge, But the Response
Have you ever been told you couldn’t do something because of your gender? That you couldn’t be involved in something because of your physical characteristics? That your career was limited because you decided to have children?
Fortunately, I have been presented with those “opportunities” throughout my life. And what I have discovered about a door shutting, or at times slamming in my face, is the strength you garner to find a new door, a new path, or a new opportunity.
Each one of us is faced with challenging situations and it is how we choose to respond to these situations that ultimately steers our direction. If I had my life to do all over again I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been these experiences – whether they were difficult or easy, fun or heartbreaking – that truly shaped who I have become as an individual, wife, mother, daughter, sister and executive.
It’s About Attitude
Your response to life’s challenges is directly related to your attitude. Throughout my life I have focused on “what can be done?” in any given situation. I ask myself, “What possibilities are there that I might not see at first…what support do I need to get through a situation?” Your attitude has a direct impact on your response. Your attitude arises from within but can be influenced by the people with whom you surround yourself and by your formal or informal mentors.
Throughout my professional and personal journey, I have been blessed to have many mentors. Some I have known personally and some I have simply admired for their character and their contributions. Learning from their responses to various situations has had a significant impact on me. I began my career with determination and gratitude, but what I have learned from my mentors has and continues to broaden and refine me.
One significant lesson I now embody both personally and professionally is to be a life-long learner. Be curious! Challenge! Ask questions! Stretch yourself in ways you could never imagine. Understand that in every endeavor there is the opportunity to enrich your own life and the lives of others.
Opportunity Is Always Knocking
Even if your efforts don’t turn out the way you “planned” them, there is always opportunity to learn. My current work environment illustrates the concept of continuous learning. As the bright minds around me develop sophisticated solutions to complex problems, they are constantly learning by refining their approach. They consider, “What response does a certain material have to certain conditions? What if the conditions are changed, what response is required then?” This approach can be applied to each situation in life and certainly supports being more curious.
As you stretch yourself, be who you are and do what you love. Staying true to who you are can serve you well in your professional life and life in general. Finding the company and the people you can work with who reflect your values is one of the most important decisions in supporting the concept of being who you are.
True to Yourself
When you are true to yourself you can be open to do what you love…not what someone else wants you to love. I have been fortunate my entire career to truly love what I do. I may not have always had the work situations I cared for, or assignments that were my favorite, but overall my experiences have been both challenging and rewarding. If you stay true to yourself and follow your dream through the many twists and turns you encounter, your journey will ultimately be fulfilling.
Finally, by truly living each day as if it were your last, you will have a clear perspective of life through a wide-angle lens, enabling you to keep aligned all the various priorities and pressures you face. This has been my lifelong practice for which I am grateful for each day