8 Tips from CEOs on How to Get to the Top

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As we navigate our careers, sometimes what we are really eager for is advice. Yes, we all want to be the very best that we can, but how did the leaders who came before us do it? And how can we follow in their footsteps? Here is some career advice from CEOs who have risen to the very top of their fields.


  1. "Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids." — Eric Schmidt, Google executive chairman

  2. "Remember that your manager is strapped for time, so know when to ask questions. Are you unsure of the objectives for an assignment? Asking her to clarify is crucial, since it's pretty hard to make the mark if you don't know where it even lies. On the flip side, avoid bombarding your manager with petty questions that could be answered by your peers or a quick Google." — Alexa von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest

  3. "They're the most important relationships in your life, but you should never take your parents' career advice, and I'm using parents as a proxy for all the pressures in the world. I will say that whatever career you're in, assume it's going to be a massive failure. That way you're not making decisions based on success, money and career. You're only making it based on doing what you love." — Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

  4. "I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When there's that moment of 'Wow, I'm not really sure I can do this,' and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough." — Marissa Mayer, former Yahoo CEO

  5. "Do the work. Out-work. Out-think. Out-sell your expectations. There are no shortcuts." — Mark Cuban

  6. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk ... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

  7. "You're not going to do this forever. There's a finite amount of time you're going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. And if you do this really, really well, everybody will see that, and they'll move you into the next thing. And you do that well, and then you'll move." — Terry J. Lundgren, Macy's CEO

  8. "Stop being an idiot; all that matters is growth." — Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

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