Read an Excerpt
WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK
I wrote the book that I wished I had been able to read as I was building my own career. I want to help people get further, faster, and be more satisfied with their work. There were four real motivators for the book.
1. TELL ALL THE SECRETS
I was very fortunate to get a lot of help from smart people who cared about me along the way. Because of that, I was told a lot of important things that no one else was. Without executive-level, personal mentors, most people don't ever get to learn about what really matters and what really works. They don't learn how to avoid the common pitfalls or get the insights they need to survive the confusing and rough times.
So I want to give away all the secrets-all the executive, insider information that is typically shared with only a select few people who get taken under a mentor's wing.
2. I HATE WASTED TIME
I hate wasting anything, particularly time, energy, and potential. So I don't like to see people wasting time, investing their heart and energy, but not getting anywhere-and, in fact, burning career capital.
You see, I am a maximizer through and through. What I mean by that is that I am driven to find the most direct and effective path to accomplish things and then do them the best they can be done, whether that is being a CEO or making a tuna sandwich.
As such, I invest enormous amounts of time, thought, and energy to figure out how to do something an easier, faster, or better way. I refuse to let my time get burned up on things that don't make a big difference or have a significant payoff. So I've spent a lot of the last twenty-five years figuring out how to tune my actions and invest my efforts to maximize the payoff for the businesses and for my career.
I know what works. I got there. I know how you can get the career you want. Through all my learning, mistakes, failures, embarrassments, wins, and advances (and maximizing) along the way, I've broken the code. I have defined and developed a concrete, practical, and repeatable approach for building the success you want. I've learned how to benefit both my business and my career and not get killed in the process. And I want to share how you can do it, too.
3. IT'S OK TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
I want to help people recognize that taking care of your career is not selfish. When you start managing your career on purpose, you end up doing a better job because in order to advance your career, you must add more value to the business. In fact, adding more value is the only reliable way to advance. So taking control of your career is not just good for you; your team and your company also benefit because you become more capable and more valuable. Conversely, if you never focus on taking care of yourself, you will get buried with work, burned out, and used up and you'll miss the chance to grow.
4. YOU CAN GET THERE
It has been a huge lesson for me that breakout success can come from doing relatively simple things. The key is in the doing. And the things that have the biggest impact are all very doable; the problem is that they are easy to miss if you don't learn them and if you don't make it a point to do them on purpose.
WHERE I CAME FROM
Growing up, I was a fat kid and a nerd. I was an artist, a singer, and an actor, and I was drawn to math and science.
When I started at university, I was registered as a fine arts major, but when I showed up at orientation I heard my mother's voice in my head saying (for as far back as I could remember), "You will go to college. You will get a good education and a good job and you will support yourself. Never rely on anyone else to support you. That's your job."
So, fearing I would struggle to earn a good living as an artist, I crossed out "Fine arts," penciled in "Electronic engineering," and went to stand in the electronic engineering line.
After college, I began my career at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, as an engineer in the robotics research lab. I hated it. I was miserable and thought I had screwed up my life (more on this and what I did about it later).
I went on to work in individual roles as a technical sales consultant, a sales rep, a product manager, and a product marketing manager. I did plenty of trade show booth duty. I know what it's like to start in a thankless, entry-level job.
In my late twenties I got my first big multilevel management job running a software development organization of about 150 people. I eventually held executive roles in marketing and sales organizations as well as general management.
My career really took off when I became Hewlett Packard's youngest general manager at the age of thirty-three. I was running a $1 billion software business for HP at thirty-five and was CEO of a private software company at thirty-eight.
I am very lucky to still have the guidance of many mentors and brilliant people who care about me. I could not have achieved any level of success without the support of my parents, sister, and husband. I still enjoy art and I'm an avid cyclist and scuba diver. I donate to charities and I like expensive shoes. I am no longer fat but I am still kind of a nerd.