Posted By Mary Thorsby,
Monday, March 26, 2018
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In celebration of Watermark’s 25th anniversary, we’ve taken a step back to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished so far and commend the ambitious women – and men who get it – who are leading us into the future.
Today, our 25 Women | 25 Stories series honors Cindy Solomon of Cindy Solomon and Associates. This world-renowned leadership expert, author and keynote speaker is an active member of our board of directors and one of our most popular webinar presenters. Here's a link to Building Your Career and Your Brand from last December; and a link to Courageous Leadership, set for this December.
Here's a look at what Cindy has learned through the years – and how Watermark has played a role.
Tell us about the biggest risk you've taken – your most difficult moments?
Shortly after 9/11, one of my businesses failed. It was the one that I had built from the ground up and that I was the most emotionally attached to from a values perspective. That failure, in many ways, felt like a death, Not only did I have to cease operations and let go of a dream, I also had to lay people off who were a part of my family and who had been a part of the organization since the beginning.
It was in those dark days following that I had to really search my mind and my soul to see if I had the courage to begin again, or if I should admit defeat and escape back into the world of a nice, consistent paycheck every two weeks.
I started to look at what I had learned about owning and running a business from that failure and realized that while no one could have anticipated a 9/11 type event, there were things I could have done to ensure that I was more prepared for something unexpected happening in the economy.
It was from those learnings that I've been able to create an even more successful, larger and faster growing organization than I ever would have had I not had that failure in 2002. Said another way, my greatest and most difficult failure enabled me to not only withstand the last recession but actually thrive during it. Sometimes courage is the simple act of getting back up after you fall.
Is there anything from your childhood that has played a role in your success today?
I was so fortunate to be raised by parents who believed that with enough hard work I could be or do anything I wanted with my life. And I was taught how to really work from a very young age. From washing cars at 12 to being held accountable for family chores each week I found that I loved the feeling of accomplishment that helping a "team" succeed gave me from a very young age.
Additionally, my father was an entrepreneur and had significant financial ups and downs during my childhood – and that also gave me the feeling that success wasn't permanent and failure wasn't fatal, which has served me well through both my corporate and entrepreneurial careers!
How do you stay relevant? What new topics interest you most?
Every day I learn something new and significant both to my personal and professional life. I think the most important thing to do for yourself is to make time for your own learning. As a professional speaker, it's easy to just show up for my own portion of a program. But I have found that if I take the time to listen to other speakers, attend other conferences for my own learning and read, read, read. That's what allows me to keep my own learning and development a priority.
That's a huge reason why Watermark has such value for its members. Watermark allows you (if you are willing to commit time to your own development) to stay in the cutting edge of information and build the value you bring to your organization.
Do you live by a particular mantra?
I have two mantras I live by. The first I heard from Eunice Azzani: If you're not standing on the edge, you're taking up too much room. And the second is: If you're not uncomfortable, you're not learning.
cindysolomon.com LinkedIn @cindysolomon
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