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Your Decisions Define Your Career and Life

As I listened to leaders share their career journeys at a recent manager gathering it occurred to me that no two careers are ever the same. I am writing to share my insights from the interaction – which I feel will benefit anyone who is considering making the most of his or her career and life.

Each had a unique story; quite obviously so. Since the time, investment, education, location and environment among other factors differed with each individual. More so, their own decisions shaped how they converged at the same organization and in different places and levels!

One had travelled overseas to gain international experience and build ‘networks’, one had taken the route of understanding the business specifics of managing profit and loss accounts for organizations while another stayed on in one organization and grew from within.


The common themes that emerged from their talks were:

a)     All had their respective plans in their minds

b)     They had the passion to go after them

c)      They took risks – at least that is what they perceived ‘doing things differently’ and ‘moving away from the comfort zone’ meant.

d)     Made key decisions that were often in contrary to popular views at that time

e)     Made lateral movements as a route for progress

f)      Enlisted the support of mentors, friends and families

g)     Communicated their direction regularly

h)     Were resilient in pursuit of their goals

i)       Acknowledged their failures

j)       Put their learning to good use

k)     Were grateful for opportunities they received

To summarize, opportunities are taken and not given, one needs to focus on personal development and growth, take peers along and make a lasting impact on the organization

Overall, the key take-away for me was that the decisions you make define who you are and where you go. There are choices in life and while you gain some, you lose some. Knowing the difference makes you better than others. Finally, you only compete with yourself.

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