What follows is a snapshot on why I wrote The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.
Nearly every weekday for the past fifteen years, I have been broadcasting from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on CNBC. I still remember how exciting it was that first day back in 1994, when I was the only journalist (and a woman, no less!) allowed into the inner sanctum of the floor. The NYSE trading floor was arguably the center of financial success in America, and it remained that way for most of my time there. But then, in 2008, the bottom fell out of the financial system.
As stocks plummeted and iconic firms failed, I knew that the industry was about to change. Reform will unfold and alter it further. I watched stunned workers from financial firms all over Wall Street carrying boxes of belongings out of the skyscrapers that had been the soaring emblems of prosperity, and I couldn't help thinking about the meaning of success. I had long contemplated a central fact of life, that success is fleeting. It doesn't matter who you are, you're going to have ups and downs, and sometimes the downs are sudden and terrifying. Holding onto success once you get it can be as difficult as achieving it.
Watching the hopes and dreams of so many talented people collapse in 2008, I began to think about the meaning of success--not just as an initial achievement, but as a durable, lifelong pursuit. I wondered if there was a definition of success that you could have permanently, in spite of the upheavals in your life, your job, or your bank account.
When I spoke with business school students, ready to launch themselves into the workplace during this difficult period, I felt it was important to offer them guidance that would stand the test of time and turmoil. Everyone wants to be close to success, and to have success. But what is success? How do you get it, and how do you keep it? And how do you survive and thrive when your world is falling apart around you? I began to reach out to dozens of people I knew who had achieved success in their professional and personal lives--people that others emulate, not for the size of their bank accounts, but for the size of their spirits. No matter how famous or wealthy or accomplished, they have all experienced failure and struggle. For the most part, their secrets for success were not learned at the peaks of their careers, but in the valleys.
I came away with wonderful insights from people like chess champion turned political activist Garry Kasparov who advised to scrutinize victories, not just failures as we typically do. Or Jack Welch who counseled to lose the attitude and not pursue money but dreams. Or my friend Dan who reminded me "you are exactly where you are supposed to be," before a nervous moment. With their help and the help of so many others, and their inspiring personal stories, I formed the 10 laws of enduring success.
- Self-knowledge: The ability to define for yourself what shape your life will take, and what success means to you.
While I was writing The 10 Laws of Enduring Success, I found myself looking in the mirror. I knew I was successful by my own measures, but I wondered, what if I woke up one day and I no longer had any of the external things that others (and, I admit, even I) regarded as proof that I was doing well? Could I still look at the woman in the mirror and say, "Maria, you are a success?" I wrote this book because I felt it was a crucial question to explore. This is a motivational book and a reminder that many of the tools for success are not external but entirely within us. I hope this book helps you tap into them.