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Tips for Success from Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn is a friend of mine. We're always running into each other at different conferences or on speaker panels. I invited her to stop by the Care.com office to give us some tips on thriving in the workplace. She's always impressed me as a speaker and she definitely didn't disappoint, drawing from her own (very successful) career to share hints that anyone can apply to their own lives.
Paige is the founder and CEO of the global marketing strategy firm Mavens & Moguls. Before starting her own company, she was a VP at Zipcar where she supervised all sales and marketing. Prior to that, Paige served as a VP of marketing for Inc.com and for Launch Media, as well. Paige also worked for Coca-Cola and the Department of Treasury. She currently serves on a number of boards and advisory committees for a wide variety of companies and organizations. She's led a dynamic career and is a terrific marketer.
Here are the highlights of Paige's presentation:
Always be in a situation where you can learn from the best.Your work environment matters. When you work with a broad base of smart people, you never know where you'll end up. Later in life, you might find yourself getting pulled along with them on the way to bigger and better things.
School never ends (if you're lucky).Try to always be in "continual education mode." In these difficult times, it's good to remember that the toughest periods in your career are also the times where you learn the most. Untangling a problem is the best way to learn why something works and why it doesn't. That can be a great experience.
Work for a company with great values.When you do, you'll never have to check part of yourself at the door. You'll always be able to believe in what you're doing.
There's no such thing as failure.If something you try does fail, learn what you can from it. If you gather something from the experience, then it wasn't a failure. Don't let fear of failure get in your way, either. Those wonderful "A-ha!" moments only come when you've been challenged. Push, grow, learn!
Find a mentor.Find a mentor in your work and extra-curricular lives. These people should be respected individuals that you can go to for advice and counsel. Take your time to establish these kind of relationships—go out to lunch with your superiors and people in other departments, especially those who are different from you. Don't just stick to who and what you know. When you find a mentor, be a sponge and soak up all the information you can.
This person doesn't have to be a mentor for life. We all go through different stages. You may reach the point where the relationship turns into a friendship. When that happens, view the situation as a door opening to a new mentor.
(In a recent post, Phil Terry, CEO of Creative Good, also talked extensively about the importance of mentors.)
Don't forget your other parts of life.Your job isn't everything. The more you give, the more you get. Look outside your business life and get involved with networking, non-profits, interests, and hobbies. Find other like-minded people who challenge, influence, and educate you.
Make friends before you need them.Be nice! It's not about your pedigree or title, it's about just being a good person. Never underestimate the power of common courtesy. (Those lessons your mom taught still apply!)
There have been times where Mavens & Moguls has been hired because we had the best manners—during business negotiations and pitches as well as in general practice. Things like that come back in spades, so be nice to everyone no matter what their job description or title. Good things can (and will!) come back to you.
It's hard to compete with people who don't think they're working.If you're not psyched about what you're doing, find something else. Do what's true to you, a job you can bring your whole self to everyday. If your current job doesn't do that for you, it's time to find another challenge.
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