Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stepping Into The New Year

Many of you are making plans for how to ring into the new year. And many of you are looking forward to leaving behind what 2016 had to offer. 

How can we go about this year differently than the rest? Set resolutions that we won't follow through on? Forget everything that happened? 

Why we don't try something different and see if it works out? 

It's not a clean slate 

Some people go into the new year thinking they can "start over." But this concept may be why we're let down so quickly as the days start to progress. 

Yes we have a chance to have new perspectives and choose new paths but we carry over key elements of previous years. For a tangible example, our fiscal year runs from May to April. Review season starts in June. So even if I wanted a clean slate, I still have four months to meet the expectations that were set in the beginning. 

I'm not trying to be negative. If we create a clear picture of what's new, it'll be easier to take on what the year will bring. 

Decide what to carry over 

It is a new year after all. We can't deny that there will be things that move with us but we can decide what we want to focus on. 

We may have had bad times. We may have had let downs. We may have ended relationships. Let's leave that in 2016. There's no point in sulking or dwelling on what didn't go our way in the previous year. 

When we pack our 2017 bag, we put our lessons in there; our happy memories; our new skills or behaviors; and of course any nice gifts you may have received for Christmas. If we learn to let go the negativity we allow room for more positivity in the new year. 

Set realistic goals

Resolutions are overrated, on December 31st, that is. What short term goals do you have for yourself? Where are you on achieving your long term goals? By assessing your progress, you're clearly able to close or continue goals you've already made for yourself. This way it doesn't become a huge undertaking. 

It is Saturday night. We'll wake up tomorrow and enjoy our Sunday morning coffee, watching the rare rain in the desert. What changed from last Saturday? It's raining out. Oh and the year you log in the books. 

As you reflect tonight over the last year, do yourself a favor and assess how you want the new year to go. Remember to pack your bags of the positive items that will give you the strength to conquer your goals in the new year. 

You own your destiny. If New Year's Eve is a way for you recharge, then take advantage of it. We say 2017 will be great- let's make it happen. 




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Takeaways From 2016 Election

This election season has been rough. Whatever position you stand for, it has been frustrating and even embarrassing to watch. But there are lessons in every experience and there are (surprisingly enough) lessons to be learned from this election. 

Women's Rights- is it the early 1900s again? 

It's time I start taking the time to talk about being a woman.    A woman engineer. A woman leader. A woman. Growing up with four older brothers, I have always tried to fit in as "one of the guys." 

I would get upset at my fellow female peers in college for standing up for their rights. Why? They did it by putting down men and trying to be better than them. That wasn't the way up. But now as I look to climb the corporate ladder, it's apparent there are differences. How we handle those differences is what counts. 

With a women senator running for president and a top businessman of our nation accused of not respecting woman as our primary candidates, the topic comes up: directly and indirectly. 

There are issues that we ignore all too often. Women (in general) are submissive. A recent Ted Talk spoke about how women created the gender gap. It's controversial to say but if an offer is set in front of you, what's the percentage of women who counter? 

Women need to stand strong. Confident. Again, there are differences in our tone, our body language and even our ability to bear children. 

It's okay to be direct about the issues. We may need to talk over others or put double the time in something, but our results will carry us to the top. 

Otherwise, we'll continue to fall behind. 

Just Listen

I've had a couple of older posts on communication. What this election taught me is that you gain nothing if you don't listen.  Candidates cut each other off. They respond to one or two words of their opponents rather than listening to the whole statement. And because they're listening to stories in their head, while trying to squeeze in a word or two, perceptions get created. 

In the business world, it's critical to listen to your peers and stakeholders. It is a better judgement of character to have a pause in your words, rather than speak inappropriately. It is quite - Powerful. 

Of course it's hard to listen to someone you don't trust. Someone who doesn't carry any weight. But by trying goes a long way to the people watching. Usually, in a room of eight people, two dominate the conversation. So what are the other six thinking? 

It's similar to the last three debates. Millions of people sat and watched the two candidates go at it. For me, it was their body language and how they responded. (Yes, the content was important for the issues that mattered most to me.)

In the end though, I'll respect any leader who can communicate well. You're being watched. What impression do you want to leave? 

The World Is Bigger Than Your Backyard 

I've applied for a few manager positions in the last couple of years. My resume and cover letter screamed "overconfident." I knew I had this. I knew what I wanted. What I was going into. I nailed it. 

But I didn't. I stepped back and asked myself why? I got great feedback in most cases and no feedback in others. So I approached a manager who was going to seek out a director position. 

He thought he was ready. That he had all the credentials. Someone sat him down and said, great I'm sure you do. In this case, it'll be easy for you to write out what you know and what you don't know. 

Humbling enough, the gap was bigger than he imagined. 

Watching the candidates bash each other's credentials, I thought of one example of what do you know and what don't you know.

Yes, we outsource. But what are the reasons? Cost of course. Well, it's really about profit. Foreign regulations vary from country to country. There are some regions you can't sell in because it's not manufactured in a specific country. And there are some regions you can't work in because you're not a citizen. 

My message: it's critical to understand the total system. Why do things occur the way they do? Don't get caught up in the symptom but dig for the root cause. 

As a growing leader, I'm often seeking out opportunities to learn and adapt. Watching two presidential candidates is supposed to be inspiring. One day, one of these candidates will walk into a room and people will stand as "Hail To The Chief" is played. 

Right now, it's difficult to see such an anthem played. As much as I want to be CEO tomorrow, I think I'll prevent the eye rolling and scoffs behind my back. 

Leadership is about service. About presence. About credibility. 

Demonstrate all three with flying colors and you'll be a natural born leader. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Our Journey: A Collection of Experiences

We go through life collecting experiences that we may or may not share. At least not vocally. Our experiences shape us and make us unique. It's how we grow. 

Yet there are only a few story tellers in the world who can sit freely and share. Their good memories. Along with their not so good memories. 

I'm sure I could write a novel one day from all that I've heard over the last six years from one of my dear story tellers, but for now I'll provide you with this. 

Don't use dynamite 

We live in a fast paced world. Our attention spans are limited. Our patience is limited. But what differentiates us from others across valleys or even generations is how we handle tough situations. 

In leadership, you develop patience (whether you like it or not). You learn to take breaths and watch a culture change slowly even though you want the change to have been implemented yesterday. 

It's also important to set plans and stick to them no matter how tedious or timely it may take to carry out. There are shortcuts but they don't get you very far and could cost you more in the long run.

For instance, after chopping down a tree to a stub two feet in diameter and four feet tall, there are quick ways to pull it from the ground and then, there's the right way. Digging a trench and using a force may take time and effort. But it's safe and predictable. 

If your patience runs low and yearn to make it to supper in time, dynamite could be a more appealing solution. But is it? You'll have pieces of tree bark scattered all over your farm, with risk to starting a fire or debris could've whacked your young son slowly drifting back to the house. 

If your solution is predictable and creates less of a mess, then carry on. 

Trophy of Humbleness 

I can be competitive at times. If my confidence is on overload, it's easy for me to keep going and staying ahead. But what's special about being humble is knowing when it is critical to be humble. 

My dear storyteller was a pretty good bowler, until the aches and pains from all his life experiences kicked in. At a charity event, he was asked to play with one of the higher leaders, guaranteeing the team to win of course. He tried and tried to get out of it but said 'what the heck' in the end. 

To him, the game meant nothing. Some money going to charity as colleagues knocked down a few pins. But as the game progressed, his score of course was getting higher and higher. 

Then from six lanes down, an enthusiastic young player, driven to win (at life too), interrupts his game to flaunt his winnings. His excitement made it to the east coast and back. This game was everything. It would make his team rise in so many ways. 

Yet so quickly, his shoulders shrugged down, as his eyes glanced at the scores above. Head down, he walked away defeated, as if this was the super bowl that would make or break his career. 

So as the trophy was handed out, it serves only as a symbolism of humility. What really matters here? Knowing how to answer this question and whether or not winning matters. And sometimes it helps to have a physical object remind you of that. 

Know your limits 

As I end this blog sharing just a couple of my takeaways, I'm reminded how all of us just want to be superheroes. We have a drive to be the best and keep going, so that people rely on us. We have a way to show the world that nothing can take us down. 

Unfortunately, our body can sometimes be stronger than our minds. Recently, his health took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. He was off from work for some time but returned as if nothing was the matter. 

But that's not the case. We need to know what our limits are. It's not easy to identify them and it usually takes extreme conditions to find out. But when we know our limits, we can always meet our word. If we say yes blindly, we could fail to deliver. I agree pushing yourself never goes to waste but it can definitely do harm if not carefully monitored. 

Our ability to be humble decreases. Our thoughts are not as easily formulated. Our temper could raise with lower patience. And the need to use dynamite may cross your mind. 

So the next time you reminisce on an experience, remember what it taught you. You may not have a knack to share it with others but at least take in the lesson for yourself. As much as we want to be superheroes, at the end of the day, our capes come off and we are human. 

Embrace what makes us human and use it for good. It turns our experiences into truly fulfilling journeys. 






Thursday, September 22, 2016

Energy Efficiency: What YOU can do

Special guest writer Stephen Roberts, a stellar product engineer in the medical device industry. 

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker

My director told me shortly after starting, that the most challenging assignments are the ones that we learn the most from and tend to define our careers. I have recently learned that to be true with a coworker that has been the most challenging individual I’ve ever had to work with. Despite it being incredibly stressful, I’ve learned so much. I was only able to learn from the experience because I am lucky enough to have a mentor that cares enough to tell me not what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. He reminded me that you can learn twice as much from a fool as from a sage. The point isn’t that my coworker is a fool (he’s actually incredibly smart), but the message remains that when “…we take [wisdom] from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. Understanding others… will help you become whole” (Mako Iwamatsu, “Uncle Iroh”). 
As humans, we are naturally inclined to think we know more than we actually do. Worse still, we tend to seek facts that support what we already believe (google ‘confirmation bias’ if you’re interested). It is important to understand the lens through which we view the world. It is the filter that turns the facts of the world into opinions and emotions. Once we recognize this, we can try to understand alternative points of view.
If you think competing points of view are a nuisance -- if you’d rather everyone just listen to you because you know what’s best -- what comes to mind when I mention a dictatorship? Our best leaders encourage others to think for themselves, to challenge the status quo, and contribute to the body of knowledge.
I used to worry about being apathetic. I wasn’t one to lose sleep over what many others seemed to. When I was in second grade, things were pretty normal. I went to school and worried about grades, friends, and how to spend my time on the weekends. My father passed away from cancer that year. On that day, everything I cared about several hours prior no longer existed for me. I remember everyone telling me “It will be ok.” But I didn’t want to hear that. At the time, it was NOT going to be ok. It took a long time to realize that it would be. One thing I’ve carried with me is that perspective. When the stresses of life and work begin to pile up, I’ve made it a habit to slow down and take inventory of what’s really important, understanding that everything will, in fact, be ok.
I now realize I’m not an apathetic person, I am just very selective about what I spend my energy caring about. I owe this epiphany to my difficult coworker. What he cares about is very different from what I care about. And that’s a good thing. If we all had the same thoughts, passions, and worries we wouldn’t have been able to come so far as a human race. We’re all at a different stage in life, with different experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs. Neither is right or wrong, just different. It is this difference that makes us great. Diversity of thought challenges us to move forward. It is the natural selection of innovation. Next time you are too quick to judge another’s perspective, try to learn something from it instead.

What you choose to spend your energy on is a question of efficiency. There is a finite amount of energy that we can expend in a lifetime, a year, a week, a day, etc. Choose where to allocate your efforts and let others concern themselves with all the things between the lines. You can’t worry about it all and be effective. What’s important to you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Keeping Your Word

What is it about resolutions that make it so hard to keep? What does that say about your character? Think about a time you made a promise and didn’t keep it. What was the impact? Just like promises, decisions are made to be kept and not go astray. 

As a leader it’s crucial to stick to your decision and minimize evasive maneuvers made on a daily basis. This demonstrates credibility and strength by sticking to original decisions. It also shows that you know where you’re going and why. It lets your team know they have a confident leader clearing that path for them. 

And on an individual level, one needs to stand their ground. “Speed of Trust”opens up with the importance of being true to yourself. The moment you start betraying yourself, your world around you changes. Granted, we’re humans, and we’re not expected to be picture perfect each day but staying real with truthful behaviors is what differentiates most leaders today. 

Some will abuse their position and make multiple unnecessary decisions just for the sake of it. They will betray themselves and their teams in the actions they choose. Leadership is earned. It is unfortunate how easily people can start turning away based commitments that were never followed through on. 

Start small. Don't make big promises to yourself. This will make the commitments manageable and easy to over deliver on, if that opportunity presents itself. Trust is spoken about constantly. Well, there's a reason for it. 

Trusted relationships bring results. Be careful with your words. It can be devastating to your career, your team and yourself if they are not carried out on. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Alive. Because of her.

There are strong mothers. Then there is my mother. Widowed at 39, she was destined to raise five children on her own, her youngest, me, being only eight. 

Mothers are self-less. They sacrifice their lives for the betterment of their children. How can one human have so much dedication and love, I cannot fathom.

To watch what my mother, Haya, endured over the last 21 years, always makes me wonder if I'll ever be half the woman she is. 


"Have you become CEO of Medtronic yet?" One of her daily questions to me at lunch time.

"No mom, not yet."

"Then when?" 

"Soon," I answer with a smile. 

Her encouragement definitely got me where I am today. 

For this Mother's Day, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on some of my favorite teachings from my own mom. 

Repetition Counts

Ever since I can remember, my mom would start my mornings with the same words of wisdom. By the time I was 13, I was able to repeat word-for-word, her daily lecture to me. It consisted of messages around education, trust, and chastity. 

Of course as a teenager (and even now in my twenties), the messages were getting quite annoying. However, when challenges occur and I find myself standing in the eye of the hurricane- her words are the only thing that can break my thought to support me on my next move. 

A senior Vice President of Medtronic always said you had to repeat something 37 times for it to stick with people. And with the decades that passed before me, I found that true with my mother's teachings. 

Aged Worthy Advice 

One of my many fears in ever becoming a parent is how to best teach and influence them to take the "right" path. Simon Sinek tells us to start with why. Well, if you've ever been around five year olds and ask them to do something, you get at least five whys before you get the result. 

Reflecting on my leadership career, I wondered how I developed key traits that make me who I am. And it was from the daily lecture my mom gave me. However, what I didn't realize until recently is how even though the message never changed, the words did. 

How can you teach a five year old about trust? I recall my mom telling me that if I ever missed my bus, to not get in the car with anyone, even if they said they knew my parents. It was always an odd statement. Like, if they know you, isn't that enough? But it worked because it helped me over time to develop an understanding of who I would or wouldn't trust. 

Timing For Words

So you can't necessarily tell your eight year old daughter that your father just died. Even if my Mom had, what would that mean? 

"Baba (dad in Arabic) went far away. He went to the sky." I would look up and wonder why he left. And I developed a passion for flying because I always thought I would be that much closer to him. 

With the notion of knowing how to tell people things, it is just as important as when. 

My favorite thing about my mother, is that she never told anyone off. But she never let anything slip by her either, to end on this final lesson. 

If someone tried to argue with her, she stayed calm, being the wiser and stronger person. However, when the timing was right, she would close the loop and normally with the minimal amount of words. 

This is so powerful and definitely memorable. I always wondered how she did it. At first, I thought she was being weak and even thinking to myself "my goodness, she is just going to take that?!" I never realized how she was preparing her response and delivering it when it was appropriate, if she decided they deserved one. 

My mother put her five children before her. Being a single parent, she had to develop a way to raise her children to be leaders with strong morals without pushing them away. 

The timing of her lessons is why it was always easy to make them resonate with me, no matter how repetitive she was. This post can no way be a measure of how much I thank and love her for who she is and thus who I am. It's just a way to jot down some of those lessons. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. It worked. 



*Haya in Arabic means living or alive

Circa 1987 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Growing Your Line of Sight



Life is what you make of it. But it is also how you make of it, meaning: perspective. 


How we understand and embrace things is based on our perspective. 


"We’re short so Mountains seem tall. We’re mortal, so Earth seems eternal. Our spacecrafts are slow, so the Universe seems vast." Neil deGrasse Tyson summarizes it well. 


How can we take what we know and expand our lens to start seeing what we don't know? To achieve what we see as merely dreams?


Empathy 


Conflict arises primarily from a lack of understanding- whether it's from roles/responsibilities or knowing that you came from your father's funeral the weekend before. 


It is amazing how sustainable relationships are when you can empathize. In the workplace, it's crucial to show up transparent; being willing to be seen through so you can see through others. 


And everywhere else, it becomes the foundation of strong communication. If I know someone is frustrated, I won't start talking about something crass. 



Humility 


I write about humility a lot and I will continue to write about it. What is most important about humility is being able to accept that you are not all knowing. Fear usually holds us back from being truly humble. 


"I will look weak."


"I'll seem self-conscious." 


"I'll be too passive."  


But humility helps us create an open mind and identify things we could never even conceive before. When that happens, we can excel so rapidly. 


Acceptance 


This is one may be the hardest. When a major life event occurs, we go through many emotions before we can see and accept what's real. 


Take my recent marriage. It's been such an amazing blessing that it doesn't seem real. 


My personality has shifted slightly but only because I am no longer myself but my self with my husband. Decisions are based on the total impact. And the ranking in my values altered to where my career is in the top three but no longer number one.


I take a different approach to problem solving only because I can see through a longer range of time. It is as if I can draw a timeline that hasn't even occurred yet.


Accepting who I have become, has allowed me to strengthen my senses in so many ways. At work, I'm more alert and transparent and have more sensitivity to what others are feeling around me. 


With my new lifestyle at home, humility has been my guardian angel, knowing that I can only grow after each step I (or rather we) take. It is ok to take a deep breath, a step back and respect the other side. 


The new perspective can be scary. But if we had a starship that can travel through our entire solar system in a mere 20 minutes,  how big is our universe really? 


Open your eyes. You might not be as far away from something as you think. 





Photo credit: https://coraskywalker.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/helix-nebulae-in-aquarius-constellation2.jpg

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Career Fair Success


The yearly regional Society for Women Engineer’s conference came and went in late February. Upon learning that I was attending the event, our talent acquisition team reached out for Career Fair support. Since I’ve done this in the past and it’s a great way to seek out talent for our own site, I volunteered for a couple of hours. 

As the women engineers were approaching our booth, I could not help but reflect on my days in college. Some of these women were in their freshmen year and asking great questions in year one. I was still grasping the idea of being in the engineering school and trying to stay ahead of my course work back then. Although some of the questions were challenging, some got on my nerves. 

Prior to attending a career fair, create your plan of which companies you want to visit and do a little research. It’s okay to walk up to a booth to ask more about the mission but it doesn’t quite look so good when you walk up and say “what do you guys do?”

Our talent acquisition team is limited, which is why our engineers are volunteering. With 10-20 people walking up per hour, we would rather listen to what you can bring to the table rather you hear our elevator speech. As the two hours passed, I found myself repeating the same key messages that I would like to document here.

Why work here

When researching a company, look up its value or mission. What connection can make you with their mission? In a competitive world, you need to be driven and have a reason to outperform your team members on a day to day basis. If you’re not content with what the company provides to the world or environment, you won’t be very successful in your role.

If you’ve read something online that interested you, it’s okay to follow up with more specifics at a career fair, such as “I read a patient story on a website and wondered how you contributed to that in your daily role.”

What work would you

Ask “how can I apply my degree to serve your mission” rather than “are there opportunities for Blank Engineers at this company.” I was asked the latter question at least five times during the fair.

In a cross functional world where Systems Engineering is the core of all successful applications, it is critical to have a diverse group of individuals in a room. Granted, we need an electrical engineer to complete an Integrated Circuit design but once it’s manufactured we need a packaging engineer to get it from one facility to another and safely, where the packaging engineer could be an industrial, mechanical, or even civil engineer, by degree.

At the end of the day, it is about the final result and the applications you took to achieve that result. Since I joined the New Product Introduction team, approximately thirty percent of my workload is mechanical engineering (and I'm system/industrial by degree).

As I learned from the Boeing keynote, "the best talent is diverse talent." 

Why hire you

Prepare your elevator speech. With conference attendees ranging from 200-8000 people, you have, on average, three minutes to tell us why we should hire you. As you walk up to the booth, state your name and your current rank/degree in school or your profession. Talk about one or two key accomplishments and why you want to join our company. 

If you can distinguish yourself amongst hundreds or even thousands of people, you have an in with the company. 

Conferences are great for learning, benchmarking and socializing. If you set just one hour aside to plan your time at the conference, you will be successful in walking out with your money's worth. And hey, you may even get a job interview out of it. 





 
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

When One Door Closes

Two weeks from tonight, on March 26, 2016, I will be Mrs. Mouslli. Now if you asked me a year ago where I would be in two weeks, I may have answered differently. I would have said packing for another trip to one of our high volume facilities in either Switzerland or Puerto Rico or maybe preparing a leadership retreat in Minneapolis as a newly appointed director. 

Instead, I have bouquets of flowers to finalize, a playlist to run through and remembering to breath over all the things I'm forgetting. And that's okay. 

Earlier today, while cleaning my room and going through my boxes, I stumbled across memories from the last twenty-nine years of my life. I couldn't help but shed a tear or two. There were signed yearbooks from grade school through high school. Ticket stubs to memorable sports event like my first Suns basketball game. Greeting cards for the holiday seasons and many years of my birthdays. But most importantly, pictures. 

I am who I am today because of all the events I encountered with all the people who made me laugh or cry and grow. We each go through a major life event either voluntarily or not. Keep these thoughts in your pocket each time. 

People will remain a part of you. 

I came across photos of my high school friends. Their smiles and notes they left me over the years was a reminder of what true friendship is. Some of these ladies will be flying from the east coast to celebrate my wedding. 

With each life event, we grow a little bit more. It's natural to change and maybe grow apart. But it is important to recognize how you are a collection of the pieces of people made an impact on you over the years. It is important to take the good ones with you and know how to walk away from those who wouldn't carry you when you needed it. 

The next opportunity will be better. 

Positivity drives results. I have to admit, I have been quite chirpy since the day my fiancé told me how he wanted the spend the rest of his life with me. My happiness resonates with those around me. I am more productive at work and have developed stronger communication skills as well.

It is bittersweet to know I'll be getting married. My choices at work will have a different priority system to them and it hit me today that I'll be leaving my mother's house. But by keeping an open mind on what future you will enter, the transition will go smoothly.  

You didn't get to where you are today by stopping at the last life event. 

I think I met my quota with childhood memories for a month or maybe a year. But I'll end with this final note- each of those moments made me into the leader I am today. High school graduation. Student council. Deterministic operations research. California trips. College graduation. Medtronic. Leadership training. Suns games. Car loans. 

If at one of those times, I stopped and said 'it can't get better,' I wouldn't have the next memory. 

Although getting married wasn't in my plan, it's only going to make me a better person. I'm not director yet but now have a right hand man to pull me up to that. I don't have any plans to go to one of the high volume facilities but a couple of other trips are on my radar. 

I had a tear in my eye thinking to myself "where did the time go and where will I be the next time I open this box?" But I smiled to a cliche thought. I closed my bedroom door and placed the boxes in my car. Thirty minutes later, my future husband greeted me and those boxes were placed in my new room. 

And so it is true, when one door closes, another one opens. It is okay to cry but remember to smile for what has to come. 


Second grade class picture. Jaggard Elementary School. Marlton, NJ. 1994-1995. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Remember Yourself and Why

"We cannot lose our soul in the process," the president of Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure division at Medtronic stressed to the Tempe Campus employees last Tuesday. When discussing new trends and the game changing technology on the forefront, he reminded everyone that the patient remains the focal point. 

Reflecting on this notion brought lessons for both inside and outside the workplace. Being in New Product Introduction, the fast pace environment can push you to your limits. But at the end of the day, with the Medtronic Mission in hand, the patient shall never be jeopardized. 

Trying to make it to the Vice President status in my thirties, my driven personality has allowed for pressing decisions outside of work too but I can never lose sight of my values. 

Remember why you're here 

We often ask ourselves what our purpose is. Some may have figured it out and others will die searching. But regardless of whether or not you understand your true purpose in life, there's a reason for being where you are at any given moment. 

Last month, I applied for an Engineering Manager position at our site. I mapped out my vision, the strategies to get there and the low hanging fruit to get the momentum started. All the cards were placed perfectly on the table and I knocked every interview out of the ball park. 

On December 17th, I was told I didn't get it. I received positive feedback from directors, managers and program managers. And no substantial feedback on what I needed to develop. 

I cried for hours. What did the other candidate have more of than me? 

Returning to work after the holidays was difficult, since I had planned to be in a new position. And this past week, I stopped and knew there was some reason for still being in the role I'm in. I own this territory and there's something about that ownership that turned this let down into an opportunity. 

Remember your end state 

It wasn't easy hearing that I didn't get the position. But within minutes of being told that, I asked "what about the program management role that individual is transferring out of?" 

I want to climb the corporate ladder. Lead people around the world in order to help us save and improve the lives of many individuals. Rather than getting negative, I was quickly able to ask about a different path to get to where I'm going. 

Let's say I want to go to San Diego from Phoenix. The common route is the I-10 to the SR 87 to the I-8. But a recent expansion on the freeway has shutdown the 87. Do I go home and say forget about it? 

If I really want to go to San Diego, I can take the I-10 to the I-5. I won't make in the same record time but I'll eventually get there to enjoy some amazing carne asada fries on the beach. 

The point is I want to get to San Diego. By having the goal in mind, it becomes about the goal and not about the path. If I woke up and said I want to take the ten to the eight, I would've been frustrated at the closure and settled for another weekend in Phoenix. 

Remember who you are 

We cannot lose our souls. Unfortunately, it is is quite common to as life events occur, opportunities present themselves or tough decisions need to be made in a matter minutes. 

The most important thing someone can do is to fall back on who they are and who they want to be.

Recently, I went out for coffee with a software engineer. I blocked three hours on my calendar- 30min driving time each way and two hours of socialization. I never met this person and yet the two hours passed remarkably fast. I stood up and thanked him for his company and walked away. 

After successfully getting my number and an another opportunity to spend time with me, it was then I realized "wow- this must be the man I'm going to marry." 

Funny how that works. 

The butterflies floating in my stomach. The four hour phone conversations each night. The hand holding across Tempe Beachpark. The wonders of an early relationship. All great but I didn't lose sight of who I was. 

It was easy for me to explain who I was and who I wanted to be when I grew up. And although my nerves keep racking up as the wedding date approaches, I know he fell in love with me for my values and my ambitions. So even if I wanted to lose sight of them, it would impact his world as much as mine. 

The new year started out with a bang, planning for a wedding and assuming new responsibilities at work. With January coming to an end, I doubted my ability to maintain my personality and core competencies due to these changes. 

But by remembering the purpose of my direction and the person I want to be on the other side, the route doesn't look so bumpy after all. 

Since I can go home every night knowing I saved someone's life, it makes it all the easier to do all it over again the next day. 

Changes will occur on a daily basis but I've worked this hard to get to where I am. It would be a shame to lose it all. 

Don't sell your soul to the forces of nature. Use those forces to push yourself closer to your dream. 



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