The Philosopher's Corner

This month's philosopher: Beverly Bradway WG’91
To learn more about Beverly, click here.

Column Editor: Z. Colette Edwards, WG’84, MD’85
To learn more about Colette, click here.


OCT2015ColorBEV.pngLife Lessons: 

If I knew then what I know now, I would have:
…trusted my instincts and decision-making as competent, valid, and important. 

I’m not sure whether my lack of confidence ‘then’ (while I was in grad school) stemmed from gender or self-esteem issues — possibly a bit of both.  I attended an undergraduate college that had only recently gone co-ed (I was in the minority), and, following college, chose an industry dominated by men.  Additionally, I continued to migrate toward environments that were high energy and numbers-oriented.  As a right-brained female working from intuition, imagination, and holistic thinking, the glaring difference between my skills and those around me skewed my perception of my ability to make a difference.  As a result, I valued others’ perspectives before mine.

Fortunately, time allows for reflection, and with maturity comes insight. I see so clearly now how every voice contributes to a better understanding of situations.  My take-away? Being an artist among a pool of mathematicians is good, and sharing a lone voice with a different perspective matters.  What prevails in conversation, process, outcome, and life does reflect the sum of inputs.  

If I knew then what I know now, I would have:
…quietened self-doubt and communicated my views much more assertively. 

If I knew then what I know now, I would not have:
…worried quite so much. 

I can finally look at a worry and ask myself “toward what end?”  

For years I would agonize, overthink, and stress about responsibilities and interactions.  While I relied on that energy to leverage focus, the constant unease also wore me out.  I think it contributed to stagnation as well.  

If I knew then what I know now, I would not have:
…dwelled in a state of anxiety about much. Rather, I would have counseled myself to to isolate what mattered — something that would have helped to strengthen my leadership and decision-making skills long ago.  I would not have deferred to the thinking of others so easily.  Instead, I would have trained myself to dim the noise of other opinions and consider more carefully my own understanding, instincts, and perspectives.  And, I would not have allowed myself to become overly concerned about mistakes.  Somehow, I had the feeling that they pointed to success-limiting flaws.

If I knew then what I know now, I would not have:
…approached my years of school and professional challenges without a guiding set of objectives that I now embrace.  

Recommended Reading: 

  • The CEO Next Door, by E Botelho and K Powell (2018)
    • A research based presentation on the characteristics, skills, and habits of successful CEOs.  A book that informs not only those pursuing the top jobs, but anyone who wants to understand paths to leadership success.  (Botelho received her MBA from Wharton)


Contact Beverly at: 
[email protected]