25 People Who Helped My Career

In Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, he recommends making a list of the 25 people most responsible for your career. But he doesn’t stop there. He then wants us to write a thank you note “to confront the humbling fact that you have not achieved your success alone.”

To reach the top you had help along the way. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on my list. Making the list wasn’t too difficult but I wanted to go the extra step and annotate it to include how the individuals helped my career. It’s been a great exercise.

Almost everyone who has helped my career is still a part of my life, for which I’m thankful. In reading my annotations I was reminded to not settle for “good enough,” to push past my comfort zone and to listen.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to write the thank you notes but I suspect throughout the year, I will. In the meantime, I thought I’d thank a few people on my blog (I didn’t include last names since I did not ask for permission to include them):

Roger: My high school journalism teacher taught me that journalism was a noble profession, one in which I could make a difference. He also encouraged me to enjoy life.

Meg: Because of her I learned to take a big chance – to do something I never thought I would do:  lead a national organization. Once I committed I never once doubted that I could do it. I just needed someone – Meg – to push me to do it.

Hugh: Our lunch conversations imbued me with many leadership lessons. Hugh, who is a fellow lover of fountain pens, provided me with my first opportunity to speak on leadership. He also helped my collection grow.

Marilyn: She is the ultimate teacher and the ultimate learner, and that’s what she taught me.

Pauli: While she frustrated me as an editor, in hindsight she was making my writing stronger. I sometimes hear her voice when I’m working on a project so I push myself to improve the project.

Jerry: He gave me an opportunity to grow. I evolved from journalism to media and community relations. I learned to work in a para-military environment and hold my own as a civilian. I learned to assess a situation quickly and make a decision.

Who would your list include? You may not have time to write a thank-you note, but you could acknowledge them by posting a comment to this post about how they helped you.