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5 CEOs Share the Best Advice They’ve Received for Career Success


Everyone wants to be successful in life, but sometimes it can seems like the odds are against you. Fret not, because you’re not alone. In fact, many of the most revered leaders admit to having to overcome adversity and defy the odds to get where they are today. Read on to see the greatest career advice from five of today’s top CEOs in the business world. Spoiler alert: Hard work pays off.


(Photo Credit: xJason.Rogersx/Flickr)

1.  Build Relationships

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Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, indicates that the best piece of advice he’s received in his career was from his fellow Zappos colleague, Fred Mossler, who told Hsieh “to build relationships for the sake of the relationships.” In other words, the business world is a smaller than you may think and everyone is connected in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, when networking and building relationships, it’s important to make it a “win-win situation” for you and the other party, rather than focusing on what you can get out of the deal.

“If you’re focused on the friendship as its own reward, serendipitous stuff just happens,” says Hsieh.

2. Reinvent Yourself

In her interview with Fortune Magazine, Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, lends advice that she learned first-hand in her own career, “Take charge of your career and be willing to reinvent yourself throughout it.” John started and grew her career at Hasbro where she worked her way up to the head of the Global Preschool Division, until one day when she received an unexpected offer to become the president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group. Although the new job would be in a different children’s industry and would require much greater responsibility, John’s skills set would be transferable so she decided to take the leap. In doing so, John’s career came full-circle when she was later offered her current job as CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop and returned to the toy industry once again.

3. Embrace Fear

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, probably has some sound advice on what it takes to be successful in one’s career, seeing that she made history as the first female CEO of any major automotive company and was awarded the #2 spot on Fortune‘s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business List. What’s the most important piece of advice Barra has received in her career? She tells Business Insider that it would have to be “to embrace fear rather than run from it.” Barra goes on to say, “Seize the opportunity because you’ll learn so much [and it will] give you such a foundation to move on.” Use fear as a motivator and you’ll be forced to step outside of your comfort zone and closer to career success.

4. Believe in Yourself and Your Ideas

Who better to dish these words of wisdom than 30-year-old billionaire and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. At the tender age of 19, Zuckergberg started Facebook in his dorm room with his Harvard classmates and, today, Facebook has an estimated 936 million active users per day. During a Q&A at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Zuckerberg was asked what advice he had for young people with grand ideas, such as his younger self.

The Facebook founder offered this advice in response, “The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you,” as reported by Time Magazine. Zuckerberg went on to say, “Don’t discount yourself, no matter what you’re doing [because everyone] has a unique perspective that they can bring to the world.”

5. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Virgin Group founder and serial entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, says that, “Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else,” according to the company’s blog. Think about it, the average American adult will spend approximately one-third of his/her entire life working, so if that individual is not happy with his/her job, then life is going to be miserable. If you’re doing something that is just as fulfilling as it is enjoyable, then work isn’t “work” anymore and success will come more naturally than if you hated your job. Work hard and play harder.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? Share your pearls of wisdom with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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Absolutely Build Relstionships – but be careful how much stock you place in them – esp. If they’re international in scope. Personal experience taught this American that no matter how sharp my skills or how comfortable our professional working relationships are, my Japanese business contemporaries will NEVER consider my efforts to have the same value as theirs – simply because I am not Japanese and don’t have the same cultural mindset via-a-vis how I approach or think about the work.


Sometimes there are forces at work beyond our understanding or knowledge that only allows certain people to advance in their careers. Ludickm is correct – trust nobody. There is also another old saying, “loose lips sink ships”. Everybody wants to climb the corporate ladder and they will lie and cheat (and sometimes steal) to get ahead of the pack. Rearviewmirror – you’ve got the ratio, and that ration means that no matter how hard you work or network, you still… Read more »


Am I alone here, or wasn’t “The Facebook” started by an angry college dweeb, as a public forum to “dis” the multitudes of hotties that couldn’t see beyond what an irritating gnat he was?


– There are an average of 11 workers (subordinates) for every manager (boss) in America. Nobody can break this average.

No matter how hard you work, how persistence, how loyal, only 1 out of 11 can advance up the ladder.


Have been at it for 32 years…and know im good at it. Consitency and being able to accept and adapt to change kept me in reach of my goal.Never unestimate loyalty of your staff…you cannot do it alone! In contrast, dont trust anybody. I am not there yet but know I am gaining ground…..easy???? NEVER!

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