Nobody’s perfect: each one of us is a work in progress
I recently had the privilege of meeting an exceptional leader – one of the few female CEOs in
This CEO hadn’t followed a traditional path. She studied abroad, pursued a successful career in multinationals, and became a single parent. As she recounted her journey, she emphasised that nothing had been easy. As a single mother in
When she assumed her CEO role back in
How has she stayed motivated amid all these challenges? Her answer was a humble one: “My ambition has never been to be perfect – much less to demonstrate to people I am perfect. Rather, it has been to hand over the organisation to the next person in better form than I found it.”
To me, this woman exemplifies the courage, determination and resilience that are the essential qualities of leadership. As one of my mentors said to me when I left college, we have two choices when faced with obstacles: “You can be an elevator, or you can be a basement.” That is, you can see challenges as an opportunity for learning and growth – or they can weigh you down. The Japanese CEO has clearly chosen to be an elevator.
We all want to be a better leader, professional, parent or partner. But none of us is perfect, and there is rarely one right answer. When we realise each one of us is a work in progress, then we can find the resilience to keep learning, keep leading, and bounce back when we fall.