“What I know now that would have been helpful then.”

This is a very interesting and thought provoking question that sparks many thoughts, ideas and emotions. I’m sure everyone wishes they had the magic recipe for success and happiness both professionally and personally. The best way I know how to share what I wish I had known is to simply list my thoughts in no logical order:

• Failure can often be just a mistake, not a definition of who you are but simply an event that happened. It is just a moment in time. If you understand that, then you realize that failure is a positive event as long as you learn from it.

• Attitude always trumps “smarts”. If you have someone on your team with a bad attitude he/she can bring the entire team/organization down. Never compromise.

• You don’t need to know everything and you never will…find people who complement your deficits. Saying “I don’t know” is often a good thing. I think great leaders have humility – the ability to accept that you don’t always have total expertise or all the answers.

• You have already earned and deserve your job. For me, I have accepted many positions and early in my career I felt I needed to prove that I deserved the job. I got the job because I deserved it. People hire people they think will do the best job.

• Sometimes the reward for good work is more work. I worked for a brilliant leader who taught me this concept. When someone tells you it’s “for your development” it often means they think you’ve done a great job and you are the best person for the increased responsibility. In general, if you are good at what you do…you should expect more work, which is a compliment not a punishment.

• Time to think should be a “personal meeting” on your calendar. We are all so busy with staff meetings, emails and phone calls. Thinking and reflecting is one of the most important meetings you can attend. If you don’t plan for it then it won’t get done. Don’t just plan for what you want “to do”... plan for who you want “to be”.

• Be yourself. Be the most authentic you and that’s a big step toward success and happiness. Define your own “work/life” balance as that is how you will be happy and also your best you!

• Good leaders can adapt and bring others through change…great leaders can change the mindset/culture of an organization to understand that change is not just “taking away” but “adding” and “improving”.

Writing this article reminds me of the importance of reflecting on the past. It’s always a great exercise to look back and review past successes and mistakes, as they both hold great insight into the future.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”