I have been very fortunate to enjoy a rewarding and successful career. Much of this success is a result of taking on responsibility at a very young age, which I did largely through necessity. I grew up with my extended family and was the eldest of 12 children living in the same house. Most of the adults spoke little or no English. I remember being as young as eight years old and navigating various government agencies trying to find answers for questions that the adults had. I started working for my dad when I was 12-years-old doing payroll for the construction company that he owned with my uncles. I loved working and thus was fortunate to acquire a lot of skills very early in life: skills that helped me accelerate in my career. By the time I was 30, I was a partner in a public accounting firm, chair of the board for a charity that works with children, and teaching at a local college. Ten years later, I was the president and chief executive officer of a healthcare organization. This book is based on my personal experience at work and in life, and the wisdom and knowledge of others whom I have worked with over the years: my colleagues, my bosses, and my staff.

Why did I write this book? The answer starts with my passion for mentoring. Once I attained more senior positions in my career, I wanted to find a way to encourage people, especially women, to pursue leadership positions. I began facilitating group mentoring sessions with young people to discuss career-related issues. These small groups gathered in the evening, in my home, and were largely organized through word of mouth. In the process of providing these interactive sessions, it became clear that the majority of questions were from people who were in the formative stages of their careers. The topics these participants wanted to explore ranged from dealing with conflict to networking techniques. After years of conducting these mentoring sessions, it seemed necessary to articulate and share the questions and wisdom that emerged from the discussions. This book was written to help anyone who wants a more successful, fulfilling career. I have had the privilege of mentoring hundreds of wonderful people through work relationships, teaching environments, and the mentoring sessions described above. The inspiration for this book comes from the inquisitiveness, desire to learn, and candour of these remarkable individuals.

Inspire Your Career focuses on providing insight and practical advice for the most common issues faced by those early in their career path. Much of the available business and career material on the market is focused on topics that are meaningful when searching for a career or for those already well into their careers. This book fills a void for those learning what is involved in being part of a workplace. It is applicable to any sector, industry, or profession. Inspire Your Career is also organized as a reference book, so that you can reread specific sections that become more relevant as you advance in your career or when a particular situation arises. In addition, Chapters 8 through 11 are geared to first-time leaders who are taking on roles as managers, supervisors, or team leaders. These chapters are also relevant if you aspire to become a leader and they are useful to understanding what a manager might be looking for from you. You will also see the icon i_symbol throughout the book. This logo means go to my website at to download a free worksheet or access additional resources on the topic being discussed. Check it out.

This book can be summarized into three key messages:

  1. Have a great attitude. Everyone appreciates people who are positive and have a can-do attitude. Be engaged and take pride in your work.
  2. Learn to self-reflect. There are opportunities everywhere to learn more about who you are so that you can become the “best” you. Learn to be open, to listen, and to have the courage to change.
  3. Build great relationships. Learn to cultivate positive working relationships with everyone you interact with. You never know when or how or who will be able to help you in the future (or when you can pay that forward).

This book was written with three intentions for you. The first is that the practical advice and tips contained in this book help you to reach your greatest career potential. Your career is one of your biggest assets and has an effect on all aspects of your life. Your career is like a tree, grounding you in security and financial support, allowing you to branch out to new and exciting areas or destinations, and providing you with the fruits of gratification and achievement. In this book, we’ll talk about transitioning from school to a work environment, building a network, how to orient yourself in a new job, how to deal with common workplace frustrations, finding mentors, and much more. I hope that you are able to both succeed and be truly happy in your career.

The second intention of the book is to encourage you to help your workplace reach its greatest potential. A recurring theme, and the most important message in this book, is to develop your self-awareness. Self-awareness is the key to unlocking your potential, and it allows you to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. I encourage you to be curious and courageous about looking deeply into who you are. This book is filled with opportunities to self-reflect. Take the time to complete the reflection exercises and think about your answers. By raising your own awareness you can be the inspiration for creating a healthy, positive, and dignified workplace. Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “You must be the change you want to see in the world,” are entirely appropriate in a work setting. You must be the change you want to see in your workplace. By changing the pattern of negative energy and by using yourself as the vehicle to turn things around, you actually fuel a new pattern, a new way of thinking, and a new way of doing things. People are attracted to this, they emulate it, and it becomes contagious. Everyone has the power to positively change their environment if they start from a place of honesty, compassion, and desire to be of benefit to others. You can cultivate this skill and positively influence the environment in your workplace. We will explore your role in knowing your blind spots, dealing with conflict, and taking a lead in inspiring a better workplace.

Finally, the third intention is that you, together with others like you, become the catalyst that evolves businesses, organizational structures, and the environment in which people work. We need a seismic shift in what “business” means and a new paradigm to create the foundation for finding solutions to the world’s problems. Most of the structures currently in place within organizations are a product of the past: command and control-style authority, thick hierarchy, and confusing bureaucracy. We are in a new place now and it is time to shed these systems. The problem is that most people in charge right now may not want to make these changes and likely do not know how. You will have the answers. Many readers of this book will be young, extremely fluent in technology, and adept at large-scale collaboration. Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” You are the new consciousness. I urge you to take your place in creating new organizational structures and workplace environments that move us forward by quantum leaps. This book is a starting place for helping you become the kind of leader who can create this level of change. My deep and sincere aspiration for you is that you become an authentic, inspiring leader, positively influencing your environment, your community, and your world. I am confident that you have this potential, and confident that you can make a tremendous difference. The world needs your unique perspective, your energy, and your gifts. I urge you to open your mind and your heart and unleash your greatest potential.

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