Last week I wrote this post for Forbes, asking 13 successful women what one attribute helped get them where they are today. Their answers vary, and I encourage you to read through them for inspiration. I didn’t include my answer – it felt a little too unwarranted for the venue – but since many folks have asked me about my one attribute, I thought I’d share it here.
The one trait that has helped me get to where I am today (other attributes have helped me stay) is ignoring the rules. I don’t always ignore all the rules but like my religion, I use them more as a guideline. Often, I purposely won’t look up how something is typically accomplished, because I don’t want to be restricted by the doubts, expectations or opinions that other people’s experiences can put in my mind. If I had followed some of life’s more obvious rules, I wouldn’t have moved to Boston, I wouldn’t have started my own companies and I wouldn’t have worked with some of the really great people I have the privilege of calling colleagues. Sometimes people will say to me, for example, “You can’t ask that,” or “You contacted who?!” – because their own fears of failure, or ego, would have held them back from doing so. Sometimes, expectation is a killer of creation.
What’s one attribute that’s helped you achieve success? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Yes, I’m a Walking Dead fan. A big one! And this week’s mid-season finale, Too Far Gone, was a teeth clencher. Without giving any episode spoilers – in case you’re just catching up on this great show – here are five things we can take away from the show, and apply to business:
- Sometimes you have to be brutal – Rick was. Then he wasn’t. And if you watch the show you know that it doesn’t work out so well when he isn’t. Leaders have to make the tough decisions, even when they’re not fun, in order to keep their businesses alive and thriving. (And sometimes that means getting rid of people.)
- Know who you’re following – I’m pretty sure the Governor’s last group wish they had. Don’t follow blindly – research who you work with, trust your own gut and ensure that any boss or leader you have has the same core value system that you do.
- Ego gets in the way – If only Rick and the Governor could have worked out their differences, ya know? The only reason they couldn’t is because of ego. Try to recognize when yours is getting in the way and might cost you something that in the end, is probably worth putting aside a little pride for.
- Exercise matters – in their world, it’s to stay in shape to fight off flesh-eating zombies. In business, it’s to keep your head straight and relieve stress. Both very important to doing your best and finding a happy work/life balance.
- Have a contingency plan – things get messy. People lose their way. Make sure you have a backup plan for how to get everyone back on track and working together well if things don’t go exactly as you planned (because most of the time, they don’t).