276. A CEO Advisor’s Low Tolerance for Suffering Keeps Her Focused on the Goal
Susan was sure NBC television would be a good fit. She had a strong passion for drama, theater and entertainment, and solid consulting credentials. She quickly learned, “You may have the best process in the world, but if the culture doesn’t accept it, you’re dead in the water.”
Susan Drumm is a CEO advisor and leadership coach for executives, their teams and entrepreneurs. Susan has spent over two decades teaching companies like Viacom, Cisco, L’Oreal and KPMG how to harness the power of leadership to launch their teams towards multi-million-dollar growth. Now, she brings her best tools and training to help entrepreneurs do the same. Susan has degrees from Harvard Law, Carnegie Mellon and a Master’s in Drama from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
An early example of Susan’s ability to listen to her inner voice and act on it was her choice of colleges. “At times I had to be adamant about the path I took. I really wanted to go to Carnegie Mellon University for my undergrad years. I had worked hard to get into the school. Both my parents had wanted me to go to a different school that maybe didn’t cost quite so much. Plus, there was concern about how challenging the school was, and maybe, in their minds, I would do better at a lesser school, and that I would be more at the top of my class. Well, I stuck to my guns and went to Carnegie Mellon. In a way, that resistance gave me more fuel to work harder. It’s a very difficult school. In hindsight, my undergraduate studies were more challenging than my law school experience at Harvard ended up being.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Susan hadn’t been in law school long when she sensed the practice of law was not for her. “There’s all the weight behind you of being at Harvard Law, (with people) saying, ‘Of course you’re going to practice law. Why wouldn’t you? It would be insane not to!’ But I once again had that feeling, ‘This isn’t right for me.’” She began looking for options. “I decided to explore taking classes at Harvard Business School, transferring the credits over. I thought, ‘How do I translate what I’ve learned in law school to be relevant for that?’ I went to work for the Boston Consulting group, doing management consulting right out of law school. I got one of two offers that they made out of 80 law school applicants.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Some people think, because I’ve made so many twists and turns in my career, that the changes were just a snap of my fingers, but they weren’t. Give yourself permission to pursue your passion, even when it looks crazy to the outside world. If you have the belief in your abilities, and are not too impatient with yourself, it will pay off and you’ll get there. Finally, look for the continuous thread in your life: How you tell your story that brings it all together is very important.”
Steps to Success from Susan Drumm
1. Ask yourself, “Do I love my career so much that I would choose to read a book about it on my vacation?” Your answer will help you find your passion.
2. Develop a low tolerance for suffering. If you’re unhappy where you are, don’t stay there and suffer.
3. Invest time learning about a profession or career path before you pour yourself into it.
On Her Bookshelf
Connecting With Susan Drumm
The Ultimate Guide to Delegation, a free e-book at www.SusanDrumm.com/delegate
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