Forty years in business – 10,440 working days, 83,200 working hours. Wow. All that time presented countless opportunities for me to learn lessons that have proved to be invaluable. It’s certainly hard to choose just four, but to keep the theme going, I’ve done just that. My four notable lessons I’ve learned in 40 years, in no particular order, can be found below.
- Have a seat at the table.
Early on in my career, I had to fight to have a seat at the decision-making table. I was young. I was a female. In the 1980s, both characteristics meant I had two strikes against me before I ever walked in the door. Have confidence in your leadership skills and intelligence, no matter your age, gender or race. Your voice matters and you should strive to be heard.
- You can never ask enough questions.
You can never ask enough questions. I was shunned for asking questions when I was growing up and all the way through college, not by my family but by school leaders and my peers. When I finally got into the business world, my inquisitiveness proved to be an asset, not a liability for my personal and professional success.
- Give yourself a little grace.
I tend to be my own worst critic, which makes this lesson a tough one for me. Nobody is perfect. We are all human, which means that we are all fallible. Refrain from beating yourself up over decisions you have made that did not pan out as you had hoped. Give yourself some grace, mercy and forgiveness. So soon are things forgotten in this busy world we live in. A mistake remains a mistake forever only if you do not learn from it.
- Invest in others and build relationships.
I unfortunately did not have a mentor growing up, which is why I am so adamant about mentoring here in Memphis. Over the years, I have participated in female-focused networking events, small business panels and educational presentations at the University of Memphis and my alma mater, Mississippi State University, to name a few. Investing in others and being intentional about building those relationships has proven to be very beneficial to my personal and professional growth.
These four lessons only scratch the surface of what I’ve learned along the way, but they are certainly vital to my development and have contributed to the longevity of ServiceMaster by Stratos. I look forward to learning much, much more in the years to come.
President and CEO