Margo Crawford
President and CEO, Business Sherpa Group

I was honoured to speak at Algonquin College on International Women’s Day late last year. The title of my talk was Career Reflections & Life Lessons: A leadership journey from the inside out. In my talk, I revealed myself as an ‘accidental leader’ who had no real plan to get to where I am today.

I often still don’t know what I’m doing, and certainly don’t have it all figured out. That said, what I cared about when I was 20 is still what I care about today. I wanted to share the thoughts and truths that have been my constant guideposts in life and in business.

1. My nature has always been the same.
The following pillars have remained consistent for me, despite any title I have had or role I have played: I support the people who I care for and respect, and do everything in my power to help them be successful. My passions seem to have followed me throughout my journey and show up in most of the decisions and choices I make. The things that speak to me internally (family, nature and spirituality/presence) are my guideposts and what ground me, particularly under stress.

2. Fear-based decisions are the worst ones I have made.
Fear is not the same as mitigating risk. Being risk intelligent and taking calculated risk are skills that have served me well in life and in business. Uncertainty (often what triggers fear) has been one of my greatest teachers.

Embracing uncertainty has taken me on journeys that I did not expect, and has allowed me to meet people I would never have otherwise come to know.

3. Your passions do not have to become your life mission.
Simply having passions that gently tug and pull away at you can be enough. From there, let life unfold and you will see how your passions actually guide many of your decisions and choices.

4. Never stop learning.
Not having the answer or not knowing what I was doing created a habit of embracing the unknown, and has set me on a perpetual journey of finding out new things. The bottom line – if I was advising my 20-year-old self (not that I would listen to my older self), I would say not to be overly focused on the end-game or outcome, but rather embrace what’s in front of me now with all the experiences and surprises. I would tell myself to behave in a way that’s in my nature and guided by my passions.