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Life Lessons Successful Leaders Wish They Had Learned Earlier

By Brigette Hyacinth

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Wisdom is a good purchase, though we pay dearly for it.” ~Dutch Proverb


In climbing the ladder of success we will soon realize there are some things, we would have to learn on our own . “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” ~ Marcel Proust


I would like to share these 6 valuable life lessons from successful business leaders. I hope it will enlighten your path and hopefully prevent you from making the same mistakes.


Spend More time away from the office. Spend

More time with Family

David Kim, CEO of the investor consortium that operates chain

restaurants was motivated to succeed so he could support his

parents. But at his father’s deathbed, he re-evaluated his success

and realized in his efforts to do everything for them, he missed a

key point: precious time with them. “I regret not spending enough

time with him, especially before he was going to go,” His epiphany

led to him spending more time with his wife and children.


2) Take Care of Yourself.

Take Care of Yourself – “I wish I could go back and tell myself,

Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can

commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging,

recharging, and renewing yourself.’’ Arianna Huffington.


I had a close friend who worked non-stop. He was always

“plugged on” and wouldn’t even take vacation. He was diagnosed

with cancer, took retirement and died shortly thereafter. Sadly though, he never got to enjoy any of his retirement earnings. Our bodies are not machines. You can’t keep going 24/7. The lights won’t always be green.

If you don’t slow down, sooner or later, you will come to a red light and have to make a complete stop. That’s why it is important to: Eat Healthy,

exercise, drink lots of water, reduce stress levels and get adequate rest. Furthermore, get rid of toxic emotions. Life is too short.


3) Take time to Listen
Communication is a two-way street. Paul Bennett, the Chief Creative Officer at IDEO said the one piece of advice he wished he had known in his early twenties, was to focus on listening. Effective leaders

learn that it is important to put aside distractions, to stop multi-tasking, and be truly “present” with people when speaking with them. Listening is a great time and money saver. It can solve a host of problems,

bring creativity, give insights and not to mention show people that you care.


4) Surround yourself with Great people, Leaders in your field and be Fearless in pursuit of game-changing ideas.

Scott Weiss: “Whatever vocation you decide on, track down the best people in the world at doing it and surround yourself with them. Aim high and be ridiculously persistent. Bill Ready: “Be Fearless.

Don’t be afraid to pursue revolutionary ideas, and don’t hold back simply because you’re going up against seemingly unconquerable competitors in your market space. At Braintree, many of our

competitors are huge, established companies in the market with market caps in the billions—but we’re not afraid of going after them.


5) The money will never define you; You define your money.

Suze Orman – “When you are starting out in your 20s, it is natural to think about all that you will have and do once you start making money, and making more money. That gives money way too much power over your life. It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have.”

In the end, we have to accept these are all material possessions and we can’t take any of them with us when we leave this world. However, people will always remember your character and how you treated them, so spend some time developing priceless attributes as integrity, honesty, empathy, kindness…etc.


6) Giving Back.

Bill Gates: “Ideally people can start to mix in some philanthropy like Mark Zuckerberg has early in his career. I have enjoyed talking to some of the entrepreneurs about this and I am impressed and how early they are thinking about giving back – much earlier than I did”.

Those of us who are blessed with so much more, should be thankful and seek to help the less fortunate.

Giving not only benefits the receiver but also the giver as well. The fulfillment you get from helping someone else is incomparable. It’s also a universal law. The more you give, is the more you receive.

Which life lesson resonates the most with you?


About the Author

Brigette Hyacinth is a Small Business Adjustor at ScotiaBank. She is a diligent self-starter, continuous learner, avid networker, always seeking opportunities for growth and development and relishes a challenge.

One thing she firmly believes in is that in the midst of all our accomplishments, we should always find ways to give back to the society/community.