788. More Choices Than You Realize
“When I went to a business school reunion, they asked us for a line of advice for all of our classmates. The advice I submitted was, ‘Write your ticket.’ What I find is, no one writes their own ticket!”
Bea Wray has dazzled audiences for 20 years speaking about entrepreneurship, leadership, and women in business. At age 27, she had the title CEO of a 5-million-dollar Silicon Valley company. She has launched several companies. One exit afforded Bea six years off on a bridgeless island resort, where she dedicated her time to raising her three children. She serves as a founder, mentor, investor, and board member to several companies. She’s also served as the executive director of the entrepreneurial non-profit, The Creative Coast, and was the Chair of the ForbesBooks Entrepreneurship Practice Group. She holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Emory University.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I grew up in a Ford Motor Company family. Ford offered my father a position in management. That afforded me what turned out to be a very lovely upbringing. But it had a cost: we had to move often. I grew up in 13 different homes, in New Jersey, Ohio, California, St. Louis and Virginia. But I learned how to make friends, and how to use whatever skills I had to make friends.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
After years in a high-energy career, Bea decided to take six years off the career track to raise her children. As she planned her return to the business world, she asked herself, “Do I still have any business skills? Can I get back into work? I thought, how did I learn how to do what was helpful to clients? The answer was not that I had attended Harvard Business School. Instead, the answers were from what I’d learned through motherhood. That’s the main purpose of my book, to bring out those stories of entrepreneurial advice and to parallel that, not only from what Harvard teaches but from my personal business career. My ‘Aha!’ moments often came from watching my child play basketball, or cooking a meal, or solving the how-do-we-get-dinner done challenge.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
At a business school reunion, a speaker asked Bea’s participants to offer one line of advice for fellow classmates. “The advice I submitted was, ‘Write your own ticket.’ Sadly, what I often find is that few people actually do write their own ticket. We lock ourselves into something that someone tells us we should value—like a big car or a big house, a mortgage and a title—and it’s really hard to walk away from that and go after what our heart is telling us we want.”
Steps to Success from Bea Wray
1. Realize that you have far more choices than you realize.
2. Discover how you learn best, then use that self-knowledge.
3. Think through the likely outcomes of your path, and make changes if you don’t like what you see ahead.
4. Look for ways to make someone happy by providing a solution.
Connecting With Bea Wray
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