One of the hard things about being ourselves is that we don't always know exactly who we are, especially at the beginning of our career. It takes time and experience to develop the trust and knowledge needed to do this successfully.
At the beginning of my career, I worked with many successful people who received an MBA from Ivy League universities. However, I was only a graduate and my field was not even a business-related field. I studied Journalism at the University of Missouri. I was different and I knew this. But it took me some time to gain the confidence to accept it. It may seem stupid, but over the years, I went to the sink asking for permission when the subject of the conversations came from where the MBA degrees were taken. So I was getting rid of answering the question.
I encountered many difficulties to feel comfortable in my own being. I was a terrible speaker in front of people... so I had to learn to speak. When we started the company, I had never directed anyone but I had been in many sports teams. I thought: Well if I make everyone feel like we're on the same team, we can do something good.
- BOB WALTER, CEO,
Fortunately, I realized that hiding, in the end, would not help me get what I wanted. I may not have received an MBA diploma, but I was pretty good at getting the information I needed to progress. When I was head of the marketing department at the Pepsi-Cola Company, I went to the company's CEO Craig Weatherup and asked him to make me COO. However, I had never had any operational experience in my career until then. Nevertheless, I send it to the marketing department throughout my career and even dismiss me; do whatever you want. So he gave me a chance and we both never regretted it.
It is extremely important for every great leader to know who he is and where he came from. The following is an invitation to have a hard assessment of your training history and to think about the events that deeply shape you, your values and goals. As an example, I added my own lifeline and the events you mentioned above. I still look at it and add something from time to time so that I can remember things like where I was, what I learned, and which lessons I couldn't learn easily. Knowledge doesn't come out of anywhere, and this exercise will reveal a better picture of who and what helps you learn something.