About a year ago I had the chance to sit down and have breakfast with a CEO. It was one of the most inspiring meetings I’ve had, albeit, I was joined with 20 other folks, but it was still such a memorable experience.
To be that close to a person who’s had power and has done all that he can to drive himself to succeed is truly inspiring to be surrounded by. Our meeting was for about an hour and he did not get to answer all our questions. It was disappointing for sure, but of course I couldn’t let him go without answering my question – so I decided to email him after our meeting.
For privacy purposes, I will not disclose his name.
I love knowing and analyzing how people think and I saw this as a great opportunity. To be able to know how someone of his level got to where he is great knowledge to keep in mind for you.
Why are we all obsessed with the daily habits of the uber successful people? Well, for one, they must be doing something right if they are where they are, right? And for two, I think they think differently than most. I don’t truly think they are any different than us other than the fact that they think differently, take action and are resourceful.
So, what does that mean for you? It means you can replicate what they have done to come up with similar results to achieve your goals.
Here’s the advice from a CEO:
My question to him:
What would you tell your 20 something year old self now to be successful in the future?
- Do something you like and that you are interested in
- Do it to the very best of your ability, performance in any organization matters
- Try different things, particularly early in your career…don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut
- Take career risk, don’t be afraid to jump into something that you are not fully qualified for, the most effective learning happens when you stretch yourself
- Be a good teammate, make the people around you better…it will be noticed
- Get a mentor
- YOU are the CEO of your career, do not leave it for someone else to manage
- Make sure you have balance in your life…family, friends, activities…your diversity as a person will make you a more effective employee
- And Have fun along the way
I was shocked when he answered my email. He is, of course a super busy man, but this proves you are never too busy or too high in power to answer other people and to be able to connect with others.
I think this is probably the best advice I have ever gotten, and I will treasure this forever as it fully relates to me personally.
Here Is How I Interpreted His Advice:
Do Something You Like & That You Are Interested In & Do It To Your Best Ability
This one seems to be a no-brainer, but in our 20’s we tend to be confused about what career path to take or in honesty what we actually really like doing. His advice allows us to keep trying to find it as it is achievable if you keep looking. Another quote or advice pops in my head as, ‘If you are not doing something you like, then you are wasting your time.’ Sometimes we can be so discouraged with life because we haven’t reached a position that seems to be what aligns with our values, and for that reason you should always experience new things and try something new repeatedly to grow your mind. Once you’ve found what you are passionate about, like he has said – do it to your best ability, it shows.
Do Different Things – Particularly Early In Your Career
I also agree with this and strive for this for myself. I don’t want to wake up in 5 years to find out I did not diversify and try new things. I want to strive to always listen to exactly what my heart wants and to see what I can give back to this world. In order to do something you like, you need to try new things. There really is no other way to find out until you experiment it for yourself. Don’t be afraid to take risks, it’s where you will either find that it’s completely not what you want to do or it’s something that was exactly meant for you. You don’t lose either way. Don’t be afraid to fail. Les Brown always says, in order to do something you’ve never done, you have to become someone you’ve never been. To do this, you have to do step out of your comfort zone.
You Are Your Own CEO – Don’t Leave It For Someone Else To Manage
My favorite point he made is that you are your own CEO of your career. The way I interpret is that you are your own CEO of how your life turns out. You have the steering wheel to control the results that unfold. You should never let others control your direction nor tell you which way to go. You may be directed in many different directions, but you are in control of which ones you want to pursue. And as long as you listen to your heart, I believe you will never be redirected in the wrong path.
Diversify Yourself By Making Time For Others
The other point he made is to diversify yourself by making time for people, family and friends is also something I’ve found to be very true. Whenever I spend more time with others I tend to not only grow more of a compassionate heart, but I also gain more skills and feel more connected to the world. You always learn something new when you spend time with others as we are all individuals that can bring forth something new and inspiring.
Be A Good Team Member, Make Others Better
I feel that it is always important to leave with a good mark and you never know when those people will reappear in your life. Time is better spent when you spend it making other people better. Not that you should do anything with the intention of benefiting you, but it will come back to you in some way.
Take Risks & Don’t Be Afraid To Jump Into Something You Are Not Fully Qualified For
I’ve heard this one repeatedly from various people – to jump into something that you are not fully ready for as it is where real growth lies. Whenever you feel that you are not growing in a career or being challenged that is when red signals should appear for you to leave and move on. You never want to feel like you are not growing, it’s not good for your brain nor your health. Why spend your life uninspired and not growing when you can feel so alive doing something that allows you to grow and pursue your passion every single day?
Lastly, Have Fun
So simple, yet we always forget about this one. Sometimes you want something so bad that you forget about the present moment and how precious it is. The process sometimes can be the best part. The part where you figure yourself out, the part where you take action, take risks and where you step forth into the person you’ve never been before. It’s going to be exhilarating and scary all at the same time. Don’t waste your days wishing the moment you’ve been waiting for arrives – it’s already here. Have fun with it and enjoy your time during the process and never take yourself too seriously. The end result is only a fraction of the time you spend in your life, the most important part is who you become during that process and what you do with that time.
Thank you for reading. Hope this will help you as much as it has helped me and continues to help me. Whether you are in your 20’s or not, I believe we can all take something from this at any age – I know that I will.
Until next time,
“You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It’s called perseverance.” – Lee Iacocca