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Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Building a company is stressful, scary, and risky, and the odds of succeeding are not in your favor. But after 30 years in the tech industry--14 of those as one of its first female African-American CEOs--I can tell you that it's worth it. I've always been ambitious, and it's always paid off--including when I became CEO of Zaplet, a software startup that was on the brink of failure, and guided it to become MetricStream, a market leader in compliance and risk management. In my new book, Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms, I share my story and what I've learned about succeeding in business and in life. The book contains actionable tips to identify what you want, make a plan, and work strategically to realize your professional and personal goals. Here are some of its key lessons.
I detest the phrase "work-life balance." It implies something that's a) even on both sides and b) static. Life doesn't work that way. I much prefer to treat life as a series of choices, which I make using my priorities, professional and personal, as the filter. For example, when my family was living in Dallas and I got a new job in Silicon Valley, I moved there alone. My daughter was in high school, and I opted to live separately, flying back to Dallas almost every weekend for three years, instead of uprooting her life. I don't think of these decisions as sacrifices that I'm forced to make, but rather as choices--no matter how difficult or painful--that I own.
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