Wall Street Veteran Offers Pep-Talk

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We all could use a little pep-talk now and then, and maybe more so as we face the continued uncertainty of living in a pandemic.

Carla Harris
Wall Street veteran Carla Harris says we all have a choice to start the day glass half full or glass half empty.

Carla Harris, Vice Chair of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, gospel singer, public speaker and author of Strategize to Win, says finding motivation is as simple as making a choice.

"We all have a choice. We can look at the world in a glass half empty way or glass half full kind of way. And it is our choice. And our choice frankly,will impact what we do with what's in front of us," she said. "So, if I could give you any advice, look at the glass half full and say, 'What can I do with what's around me?'"

The Wall Street veteran advises us to be intentional about how we're using our time so we come out of this prepared for what's next.

"There are people who put off updating their resume, put off thinking about what's Chapter 2 of my life, or put off pivoting their business. They knew they were successful in one lane but knew they needed to pivot because things were changing but they were allowing themselves to be complacent because 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' but you gotta evolve if you want to be able to compete as things continue to move forward," she said.

As working from home becomes the new norm, Harris also believes mentoring is as important as ever. And, being out of the office may be a big help in connecting to one.

"The mentor is the person who will give you the good, the bad and the ugly. Will give it to you straight. No chaser," she said. "And being out of the confines of the office, I think it allows people to think more broadly about who can give them that kind of feedback that will help them professionally."

The other person who can help is a sponsor, that person who will use their reputation and connections in the office to help advance someone's career. Harris says it's that relationship that may need a little more nurturing with so many people working from the office. She advises being more intentional about communication.

"Maybe now I need to send 'em email. Maybe now, I need to say, 'Hey, we spoke last week, let me tell you what a productive week this has been. These three things were accomplished.' she said. "Now you're going to have to be much more intentional but the good news is this, it sort of puts everybody on a level playing field because people can't get out socially and congregate and build those sponsor relationships. And the other benefit is everybody is reading everything now."

As Harris continues to talk to groups, she hears of similar challenges across the board - staying focused and not worrying about uncertainty.

"The advice I'm giving to people is know that this will pass. Most of us have lived long enough to know this, too, will pass. The question is, what are you going to do with this time?," she asks. "So, you should be very intentional about how you're using your time."

And for leaders her advice is be visible, be transparent and be empathetic.

In this web extra clip, Wall Street veteran Carla Harris talks about her recommendations for leaders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris is using her time now to write another book that should be out next fall. In the meantime, as she says in the titles of her two previous books, Harris says we should continue to strategize to win and expect to win.

"I am very fond of saying, chaos breeds opportunity. And we got a lot of chaos going on right now." she said. "So, I think people can absolutely expect to win.Here's the upside. No one knows what this is going to look like on the other side for our economy, for our healthcare system, for professional jobs. There are jobs and opportunities being created that would never have been born frankly, had it not been for the environment we're in now."

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