To be successful, most people think that you should pick something you are passionate about and stick to it. I should know, because I was one of those people. Until I met Christina Wallace, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. She is an energetic entrepreneur with a unique story to share. According to Christina, you can be anything you want to be, as long as you are not afraid to try.
“You don't have to choose one career path. You can create a career that lets you be all of the things that you want to be.” - Christina Wallace.
Christina was the girl who never wanted to focus when she was growing up. She refuses to choose one career path. Which would explain double-majoring in math and theater with minors in music, physics and political science. She straddled multiple worlds all at once. This is how she has built her career, even up to now.
The key element to her success is overcoming fear. As she was growing up, she shied away from a lot of things because of certain expectations placed upon her. But up until she started a company and completely failed, is when she realized that it’s ok to fail. In fact, there is a lot to be learned from failure and that it is not a big black mark that will haunt you forever. It’s not the end of the world.
Her advice to people is to start overcoming fear at a young age. While you are young, there will be a lot of opportunities to fail, and you need to opt in. It’s a muscle that you need to practice.
“Once you fail a lot, you start realizing not to take it personally. I think that's the hardest part.” - Christina Wallace.
Pivoting is also a huge part of her success. According to her, It’s ok to change your mind, especially when you get new information. If what you are doing right now is not working, you can change direction. This mindset will give you a sense of freedom that will allow you to learn more things.
To practice this mindset, give yourself permission to constantly reassess your situation and go in a new direction if you feel like it. But this is not to say that it’s ok to quit everything that you started. This is for the people who feel constricted and stuck on a single career path that they may no longer want anymore.
Lastly, know how to brag and tell your story. No one will know what value you can bring to people if you refuse to show what you do. Especially women who were often socialized not to talk about themselves. Christina encourages women to start speaking up and finally reverse that trend.
“You can't hide in the corner and hope your work will get noticed. No one cares about your career as much as you do. So you have to be willing to share it.” - Christina Wallace.
While you’re at it, if you are going to share your stories, make sure that you also share the bad ones. After all, you can’t be the hero all the time. You don’t want people to misconstrue you as flat out bragging.
There are a lot of ways that you can succeed in business and in life. But the one thing that you need to learn is to accept failure. It’s ok to fail, and you can always pivot if things are really not working out.