5 Inspiring Career Lessons From the World's Most Successful People

Sacha Strebe

Ever wondered how some people went from humble college graduate to CEO of one the biggest companies in the country? Of course you have; it's fair to say we all have at some point, but rather than succumb to the "woe is me" story, let's learn from these success stories and discover what it is that makes these extraordinary people win and adapt. Patricia Sellers from Fortune has profiled some of the world’s most successful people, from Oprah Winfrey to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Rupert Murdoch to Melinda Gates. She believes the "best career advice is universal" and recently shared a collection of their wisdom.

Be Flexible; Don't Plan Too Much
"Most of the really successful people I’ve met and interviewed these past 30 years at Fortune had no clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school or even in college. They stayed flexible and open to possibilities."

Be Open to Change 
"In a world that’s unpredictable and changing faster than ever, who knows what tomorrow’s ideal jobs will be? Think of your career as a jungle gym. Sharpen your peripheral vision and look for opportunities over here or over there, and swing to them. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg kindly credits me in Chapter 3 of her best-seller, Lean In, for introducing the concept of the jungle gym."

Don't Always Choose the Money
"Work with good people who are smarter than you are so you can stay stimulated and learn every day."

Be 100% Present in Your Current Job
"If you spend your time thinking about what you want to do next, you’re not fully focused on your current assignment. And unless you focus, you won’t compete successfully with people who are 'all in.'"

Think About the Big Picture
"Always consider how you can contribute to the bigger whole—and don’t be afraid to stumble. I wrote a 1995 cover story called 'So you fail, so what!' Today, recovering from failure is a badge of honor that bosses want to see in people they hire."

To read five more career advice tips from successful people, visit Fortune.

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