On Resilience: SWE 2023

Last week I was on a panel at the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference on the topic of resiliency. This talk was not about system reliability (although I do love that topic); this was about personal resiliency. Resilience is a muscle I built over the past 20+ years in the industry, and speaking at a conference of 17,000 engineers who happen to be female on this topic was an honor. My hope was to help our upcoming generation of engineers find their strength a bit faster than I did, which feels ESPECIALLY critical for young people graduating now having had school interrupted by Covid and emerging into a tighter job market.

So first the baseline. What helps with resiliency?

  1. Authenticity: seek to know who you are, and get clarity on your personal values. Identify and optimize for your strengths. Work to cultivate a good level of emotional awareness and regulation (friends and mentors help a lot with this! So do coaches and therapists!)
  2. Purpose: seek purpose and a sense of belonging in your work. You cannot work where you don’t feel like you belong. You cannot work at a place whose culture doesn’t align with your core values and beliefs. If you are in such a place, you need to find a new home.
  3. Adaptability: find methodologies to be solution-focused when things go wrong. Try to reframe setbacks and challenges. Work to minimize the impact of negativity (personally and professionally).
  4. Self-care: You have to find the work and life routines that help you manage your everyday stressors. It takes work to create time for relaxation and recovery (which sounds totally unfair, but it is just the reality friends). When I was taking a parenting class they spoke about combating post-partum depression with the 5 ‘s’s: Sleep, Sunshine, Sweat, Social, and Snuggles. This stuck with me from that super stressful (and wonderful) time in my life, and is the heart of my personal approach to stress-management.
  5. Support: build a community that can provide you with advice and support, and seek to provide support readily to others. Many times the process of helping others may help you feel more connected than asking for support yourself, but it is brave to ask for help, and far better than letting yourself operate in the dark.
  6. Energy: maintain physical fitness with a healthy diet and adequate sleep. The analogy I would use is put your own Oxygen mask on before you help others. You really cannot be present if you are exhausted.
  7. Networks: develop and maintain the personal and professional support networks you need at home and at work in order to perform well in your job. These are not just about emotional support for today’s challenges, but this is about supporting you through the transitions of the future, be it new jobs, projects, or personal transitions and challenges.

I offer this as a framework, but each individual has to find their own recipe. You have to allocate time for that in your life, and recognize that the process is continuous. As your life, responsibilities, and needs evolve, you will need to reassess.

So that is the framework I’ve used, but the panel specifically asked three questions. The first was to share a career challenge or setback and how resilience came into play in moving through it. The example I shared was from a recent project launch. How upon the first review of my plan internally I was basically told that my plan wasn’t even worth discussing and how I had to pivot and expand the entire scope with fewer weeks than the lead time to acquire the components. I shared the approach I tend to use in high stakes scenarios when I could get triggered. 1. Take a deep breath. 2. Ask yourself why a reasonable, rational person would behave in this fashion? The trick is to get myself out of reacting and into thinking mode (a great book on this is Radical Candor, which I highly recommend). When we are triggered, we cannot be our best self (literally your amygdala is firing and you are going to be in fight or flight mode). If you can get yourself into “thinking mode” (activating your prefrontal cortex), then you can react in a thoughtful manner, and not out of fear or frustration. In every aspect of work I try to cultivate my curiosity. Most of the time one’s knee jerk assumptions of why something is happening are wrong (and that is largely because we tend to assume people’s behavior is because of something we did or said, and it rarely is). The person who told me my plan was insufficient was trying to lead a transformative change–he wasn’t trying to tell me I was insufficient. The sooner we get out of personalizing, and into problem solving, the more resilient we will be in executing.

The second question was about leading my team through challenges and how I role-modeled, built, and supported resilience in the team. What I really focused on here was the fact that resilience comes from self-care (which I cannot control, but I can encourage), and a sense of belonging and purpose (which is my responsibility to help build). SO, I focus on helping make sure my team understands how their work impacts our customers and overall business. I also try to make sure that they feel like they are cared about. A leader I truly admire, Rani Borkar, once told me that her motto is “people first, business always.” I have always loved that. Your people will know if you care about them, and hopefully if you are there and present for them in the good times, they will know to come to you in the tough ones. So I check in on them. I invest in skip level meetings. I pay careful attention to employee engagement surveys. I gather and analyze manager feedback. I ask the questions, try to reflect back what I have heard to make sure I really understand the perspective correctly, and then I make sure I am taking action based on the feedback.

The last question was about a time when things did NOT go well with respect to resiliency and in retrospect what you wish you had done instead. The experience I shared here was when I was coming back from maternity leave, exhausted and less capable of self-care because of my new role at home. It happened to also be a time when my husband was traveling a lot to be with his father who had been diagnosed with cancer, and he was trying to help manage his father’s care from the opposite coast.

This time was one of the most difficult in my career: everything got under my skin because I was often solo parenting with an infant and a two-year-old, not getting enough sleep, exercise, support, etc. There are many work experiences I could share where I wish I had been able to show up with more grace. I gritted through it, unfortunately my father-in-law did not make it, my husband’s travel slowed down, and our family entered the phase of mourning and healing, but every single day was so hard. I wish I had been willing to cut myself some slack: specifically get extra help in terms of childcare, reach out for more emotional support, seek coaching and mentorship at my company, etc. When I came through that experience, I absolutely learned what NOT to do, and have since handled periods of extreme stress much better.

My parting advice was this: engineering and product development are careers where you are constantly learning, and there will always be phases where you have to work through ambiguity, solve complex problems, and manage stressful situations (quality challenges, gnarly bugs, high priority launches with many moving pieces, stakeholders who disagree strongly, etc.) In order to do this work well, you HAVE to be able to show up as your best self, which means you need to prioritize resilience.



Yesterday was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. As the grandchild of survivors, this is an incredibly important day for my family. My Nana and Grandfather were survivors who picked themselves up after losing everything (children, parents, siblings, and any sense of safety), moved to the US, raised their family with love (and pain), built businesses, and contributed to making this country even better. My generation is the last to know survivors like my grandparents: to have heard their stories, seen their strength, and felt their struggle.

11 years ago, the Shoah Foundation, who has recorded so many stories of Holocaust survivors, sent my family a set of tapes from an interview my Nana did in 1995. It was such a gift. I uploaded them so her story would never be forgotten. She was there on the day the US Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in 1993 (her story is one of the ones you could experience walking through the museum), and afterward they followed up and asked her to record this piece. The Shoah Foundation has recorded the stories of so many survivors and now has posted them widely online. I urge you to listen with an open heart to their stories and never allow ourselves to forget what happened. This day is not just important for me, my family, or Jews across the world; in a time where there is increasing nationalism, hatred, dehumanization, scapegoating, and violation of other nation’s sovereignty, I urge us all to remember that these same conditions are what led to the massacre of 6 million Jews by the Nazis. Very few people wanted to see such things occur, and yet they stood by in silence, and let horrors happen. And it didn’t keep them safe. More countries were overrun, more people suffered. In the words of Audre Lorde, “Your silence will not protect you.”

It is absolutely time for us to come together, regardless of our differences to stop atrocities, not as some world wide police force, but I hope through discussion, debate, honoring our differences, and the right of our fellow humans to choose autonomously that which is best for them and their families. We need to be the change we want to see, and never forget our collective history.


When to take your foot off the gas

It has been a really difficult year. I try not to indulge in self-pity, but I am a fan of self-reflection for the general purpose of attempting to learn from my experiences. Some of what made the last year difficult was out of my control (my nephew’s cancer diagnosis and fight, our wonderful nanny moving on to a family with infants since my boys are definitely not in that category anymore, etc.), but a lot of it was my choice. Sometimes I wonder why I am so intent on pushing when situations are already stressful. I suspect human nature here, but also likely a special flavor of masochism. I self-identify as doing hard things, and sometimes, wow that makes things hard!

I started a new job a year and a month ago. The transition to this type of role was something I had contemplated for a long time–I love semiconductors and feel like we are in one of the most interesting phases of innovation within design and manufacturing that will occur in my lifetime, but having experienced Silicon and system design without ever having had to operate those systems and understand what it takes to resolve the issues that occur at scale was a hole in my development. I knew there were aspects of design tradeoffs and decisions I could not reason about fully from the feedback of my customers and partners alone. 1+ year at Cloudflare, and I am still learning daily from the teams who keep our network up and running how to build better systems and how to help our vendors design more optimal products for services like ours. In 6 weeks I learned more at Cloudflare about the realities of managing systems at scale than I learned in 20 years of development and design. And I learn more with every project everyday. I will never stop loving the fundamentals of design and manufacturing, but I have greater humility and I hope insight from this experience.

My first day of orientation was also the date of my nephew’s first brain surgery to remove a baseball sized tumor from his brain. My first month was punctuated by PICU text messages from my sister. While trying to learn a whole new suite of products, understand our current projects across my various teams, develop relationships with my key partners and vendors, understand internal processes, build my team, and formulate my vision, I also was trying to make sure my nephew was getting the care he needed, and my sister and brother-in-law got some support. I am VERY lucky to have a large family of sisters and aunties as well as amazing parents, and everyone rallied to this cause, but it was a constant weight. Then the house remodel we had been planning for nearly two years finally kicked off (with us camping in the house because the rents in the Bay Area are no joke!) So I added the “fun” of cooking in my outdoor kitchen at least three nights a week during the wettest winter I have ever seen here in California.

Throughout all of this I remained the Chairperson and President of the Open Compute Project Foundation–hiring our new CEO, helping oversee the vision and strategy, and ensuring that we have tools and capabilities in the staff and infrastructure to support a healthy and vibrant community. I also remained the singer and primary booker for my band, Sinister Dexter, and you know just for fun (or honestly stress management) ran 4 half marathons (including a PR post having babies).

Then in September, I had to find a new au pair, our first match did not work out, and the immigration process for the second meant we went with part-time and strung together childcare for 2 months while balancing the schedules of two working parents. Seriously there were days when I thought to myself, how about I call in sick? I didn’t. I took two one-week vacations with my family and one with friends who have become family, and these were precious, did weekend visits to see my nephew and my sister, and I did actually get sick enough one week that I stopped working at 4 pm to take a bath and pass out, but otherwise I didn’t miss a day.

I don’t say this because I am proud of it–there are times when you need to take a step back and take care of yourself, but the insidious thing about cancer is that the process of fighting is a lot of work for the individual and their direct support team (my sister and brother-in-law) and for the rest of us there was a lot of waiting, hoping, praying, and worrying given that we couldn’t be in the hospital due to covid19 precautions (still!) I don’t like to worry. I’d rather do things, and honestly that was why I consciously chose to stay SO busy, but I am not going to lie that there is a lot of internal reflection going on right now. We got the blessed news in February that my nephew is officially in remission, and the precious dinners, and family nights with him over the last few months are particularly sweet. I want to say yes to the trips, visits, TIME together to make memories. I want to have family dinners around my new kitchen table. I want to be with the people I love and take a deep breath, and maybe, just maybe, not run up a hill in the rain for the next few months.

Stay tuned for a slightly chiller Rebecca. There are times when we just have to take a step back in order to be able to step forward. I think this is finally the time.


International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. You may not realize this, but as of 2022 women held only 28% of roles in tech with even lower representation at higher grade levels. In data, security, and infrastructure, there are even fewer of us.

I got where I am today not only because of the strong women in my life, but very much because of the men who supported me, particularly early in my career and even now when I am not in the room. Advocacy matters, and we cannot change the ratio without the entire tech community stepping up to embrace equity. Equity is not the same as equality–this is a distinction that Cloudflare has particularly educated me upon.

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

In tech we need to do a better job of bringing people up and into the dialogue. I fully thank the bosses, colleagues, and partners in my life who held the door open for me. I see you and I am grateful. AND we need to do more to make sure the doors are easier for our next generation.

Today, and every day, those of us in leadership need to encourage, enable, and support other women and underrepresented minorities to stay engaged in tech despite the challenges of being the “only” or the “few.” We are stronger and better together. This means making sure if you observe bias you call it out, and speak up for equity. It also means recognizing the additional burden agents of change feel and giving them support.

That also means stating my commitment to others: for those of you earlier in your careers who are struggling, know that you are not alone. Please ask for help, reach out, and know I am here to help. Also, you need to help yourself. Build your support system, your sponsors, your mentors, and your advocates, so you can continue to thrive.

In life we will all face bias. You will be underestimated. The world will not always be fair. For the record, you too have bias. I was recently confronted in a meeting for speaking about a leader whose story inspired me, and reminded by a fellow woman in tech that leader was incredibly racist and very much a product of imperialism. Our history is not perfect, and it is hard to have a discussion about any historical figure who would measure up to our current ideals. Do we stop focusing on the lessons worth learning from history because the people are flawed? I don’t believe we can, AND I’m glad that person spoke up to help me see the pain it caused her, so I could be more nuanced in my commentary. Every day we get the chance to learn, if we make a space where people are willing to speak up and share their differences of opinion.

I personally find faith in one simple fact: we learn more in times of struggle than we do in success. We can only make the world better if we stay in the fight. It is a struggle to be different, to be a change agent, and advocates can speak up for you, but they cannot know what it is to walk in your shoes. All we can do is come together, hold each other’s hands, and give each other grace to learn and grow, so we can keep moving forward together.


A new era of creativity

I am a runner, and an early riser by nature, so getting out to run a trail at sunrise is just about the happiest I can be. The sunrise was gorgeous this morning, and I found myself meditating on the creativity of science, engineering, mathematics…we think of poetry and art as the creative arts in our society these days, but when one thinks of the history of these “hard” disciplines they are no less creative. Cuvier had to invent natural history from studying the earth and her bleached-out fossils, Mendeleev invented a methodology to organize the elements of our planet helping us predict the existence of things which had not yet been found, Euclid formulated universal truths about the relationships of physical bodies and then we as humans expanded that through observation to an entirely different field of orbital dynamics and ultimately sent people into space…these are creative arts as much as mathematical truths. We teach these disciplines as truths and forget their inventive history, which I believe discourages the very mindset that breeds engineers to be their most effective selves. For me, I only really began to learn and love my profession in the practice of it. Through working I have seen and been a part of solving some of the most exciting problems in the world of hardware, and I am confident science and technology will continue to solve some of the most difficult problems of our world (global warming, cancer, etc.) through creativity and ingenuity if we can continue to engage and unlock our future technologists.

I guess I started thinking about this because I have heard so many dystopic conversations of late where folks are worried that ChatGPT and similar AI models will displace humans doing complicated knowledge work. Why learn to code? Why figure out circuit diagrams? All of this will be automated! Me being me, it is likely no surprise that I believe these models will unlock even greater creativity and autonomy for humans through automation of the increasingly complex tasks our mounting levels of abstraction are requiring. Code still does and will always matter, being able to understand the physics of how a pump works will always matter (to a doctor trying to understand the human heart and a systems engineer trying to understand the optimal approach for liquid cooling, whether or not surgery or servicing of those servers are conducted by human hands or robots). I fundamentally believe this is the most interesting time to be alive for a technologist (and arguably a musician, artist, teacher, student, etc.) The technology that is being built today has the capacity to unleash human potential in a way formerly unimaginable, and we are the lucky ones who will see what universal truths and opportunities it will create.

I’ve also been thinking about the power of human potential and how work is or is not serving it because I recently finished Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us. While I’ve read a lot of pieces in this vein before (Designing Your Life incorporates a lot of the aspects of flow and how you can optimize for that in your career, and several parenting books I’ve read have hammered on the disincentive of “pay to play” scenarios since they decrease the natural curiosity and propensity to learn that children are born with in favor of “unlocking the reward” behavior), I found revisiting these concepts given the current economic conditions, readjustment happening for workers in technology, and rise of more powerful AI models in our world particularly interesting. Some of the key takeaways from the book is that an incentive leads to short term results: e.g. “eat your vegetables and you will get dessert”, but less positive outcomes in the future: e.g. they don’t learn that vegetables help them feel healthier and grow stronger vs. eating dessert, which tastes good, but may ultimately make them feel sick if they eat too much, or even feel out of control negatively impacting relationships. One of the analogies used in the book is if you pay your kid to take out the trash, they will never do it again unless they are paid. It is good to have an allowance to help kids learn how to manage budgets and save. It is good to have kids do chores to help their family out of a sense of belonging and contribution to the communal needs of the family. If you correlate their chores to their allowance, then they learn to only do chores for money in perpetuity, which likely won’t help them much when they have to build their own homes and families.

This thought then make me think about my journey into engineering (the natural wonder of building my first server and playing with robots and gadgets as a kid, and how poorly my formal education fostered that same wonder), and then how my experience in work actually made me fall in love with technology and learning all over again through mentors and advocates who enjoyed what we were building. Honestly the worst parts of work have been the rote activities (writing verification tests with walking 1s to make sure there were no sticky bits–THESE TESTS SHOULD BE AUTOMATED! And then I moved to a company who built tooling to do exactly that!), and it is the complex problems, and puzzle pieces “clicking into place” where you know you are on to something and you make it WORK that make work fun. If we believe that AI will help automate the rote tasks in knowledge working (not the creativity of thinking through the problem and formulating the algorithm, but maybe the scripting to ensure that you are accessing all the right databases for the right information) and continue to expand the capacity of humans to find those big picture “aha” moments, quite possibly the future will be brighter for the individuals working to solve these problems than ever before.


Strength Through Hope

About this time last year, I remember a conversation with my sister. She was worried about my nephew–he was feeling nauseated regularly, vomiting daily, and it was not improving. He had been through a battery of tests (he started complaining and having symptoms in November of 2020), but by January of 2022 there still was no clear diagnosis. This wasn’t our first conversation: we had been on the journey with them for nearly a year and a half as he lost weight despite concerted efforts to healthfully “bulk up”. Then he was starting to have regular headaches, issues with double vision, and all of that reinforced her conviction that something was very wrong with her son. She had been sent home from the doctor’s office regularly, but by the end of February he had trouble seeing out of his right eye, which lead my sister to the Nurseline of her insurance, and finally an Ophthalmologist telling them to go to the ER as soon as possible. There they finally diagnosed him as having a medulloblastoma, stage 4, and they had to do immediate surgery to relieve the pressure in his brain.

The next 10 months are a blur…brain surgery, PICU where he stayed for nearly two weeks, and we didn’t know if he would make it, then a medivac to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego where a second surgery would more completely remove the tumor, which had spread from the cerebellum to the brain stem. This led to my sister and her family applying to enter St. Jude’s study for medulloblastomas, into which Jamie was accepted, and temporarily relocating to San Diego for his treatment and recovery. He went through two rounds of proton radiation, rehabilitation, and then four rounds of intense chemotherapy.

All of that culminated in a blessed visit with all of us together in Sacramento for the holidays, from which I got home about a week ago. We did our best to make our family traditions happen: big meals around my parents’ table, cuddling on the couch to watch holiday movies, going on some outings together, and just generally trying to find a bit of normalcy in a world that makes so very little sense.

Then a few days ago we got word that the treatment was not successful. We don’t know what comes next yet. The pain of knowing everything my poor nephew has suffered was not successful in getting him to remission is devastating, but I find my most deep and profound feeling is anger at how unfair this situation is. As with all things in my life, I find myself running and reading to process…running out my anger, reading about options for my nephew, ways to provide support and comfort to my family, healthy techniques to address the feelings I have. I, like most engineers I know, intellectualize my life: ‘x’ happened because of ‘y’; therefore the key learning is when ‘y’ occurs again, step back, question assumptions, think through the outcome desired, and attempt to do ‘z’. Sadly, I don’t have a great ‘z’ for this situation. I can be angry at my sister’s healthcare provider for not taking my nephew’s symptoms seriously, not diagnosing him sooner, etc. but none of that makes this situation more bearable. It is an outlet maybe, but not a solution.

There is in fact no solution or reason for why and where this terrible disease strikes. Despite all my general positivity there is no silver lining that I can see, which is not to say that I lack hope, love, and gratitude for all the blessings in my life including this precious time with my nephew, but there is no fairness or reason that I can find, and I am angry. To cope, I find myself meditating upon resilience and acceptance. Acceptance for my anger and my inability to fix things, and resilience to be there for Jamie and my family. To build that resilience, I read, I write, and when I cannot do either any more, I run. The books I have found most comforting of late are:

If you have other recommendations, I’m all ears. I recently read this article on the psychological basis of hope and found this quotation particularly resonant, “According to these theories, hope is related to goals, anticipating obstacles, acceptance, self-worth, social support, and finding meaning in your situation. However, it’s important to note that hope must be rooted in reality, for fear of being false hope. False hope is denial. Hope itself is simply determination.”

I don’t want to have false hope, and walking that line between reality and denial is hard. I find myself determined to believe that there is meaning in this even if I don’t yet understand it. I’m just running, reading, reflecting, and seeking to understand what the greater meaning is.


On Leadership

Yesterday I was asked to give a presentation to the Women in Infrastructure group here at Cloudflare. They had asked me to chat about my path to Cloudflare and leadership as a woman in technology more generally. It was a nice opportunity to reflect, and I wanted to share some of the key nuggets because it really was the highlight of my day:

1. Did you have a plan for your career?

No, I didn’t have a “plan” (whether 5-year or otherwise); I have always optimized for learning, and tried to get systematically better at understanding the factors that contribute to my happiness and efficacy at work. We are all works in progress; a good career allows you to grow and change your job as you do (and that growth is rarely linear). So I tend to take an inside out approach to understanding where I am and what I want. Practically that manifests as monthly 1:1s with myself, yearly assessments of my job: what’s working, what needs to change and why, and semi-regular check-ins on what else is out there and why it might appeal, not necessarily because I want to make a change, but to see if I get excited, and if so why, so I can look for ways to build that into my job and keep choosing that path everyday. Ultimately, you have to take ownership in the outcome of your career, and if you are not reflecting on what “right” and “best” are for you, you cannot achieve happiness (you likely cannot even define it!) I have only exceled at my work when I find the intersection of my passion and what the company needs.

2. What is the best advice you received along the way?

  • Be authentic: you cannot do your best work if you are not comfortable in your own skin. This “comfort” can be hard to achieve when you don’t look or feel like everyone around you, it is a mental load that some folks don’t have to carry and that may feel less fair, but honestly I’m not sure why we expect fairness (a post for a different time). Only you can know who you are. You have to take the time to understand your strengths and your weaknesses, and try to avoid self-bias. As a leader, I have found showing vulnerability is actually a feature. I tend to be pretty open with the good and the bad, and invite my team to show up that way as well. The number one contributor to successful teams is psychological safety, and authenticity can be a critical part of that journey.
  • Build sponsorship: much has been written about the difference between mentors and sponsors, but my short summary is a good mentor will help you process what you are thinking, be a sounding board, help you reflect on whether your actions are yielding the outcomes you want (we all need these folks in our lives!); sponsor will advocate for you when you are not in the room. They are the people who will recommend you for a project, job, etc. The challenge is that sponsors cannot be sought explicitly, they really have to find you. Ideally you start with mentorship, build a relationship in context, and then that person decides they are your sponsor, and you put in the effort to maintain that relationship. So follow up, ask for advice from a person you respect, and recognize that even if it makes you uncomfortable, you have to be your own champion.
  • Bring empathy: let’s admit it, sometimes it is just hard to be. With the pandemic these past few years people have lost loved ones, had to assume more home responsibilities as schools and childcare were less predictable, have had to renegotiate the boundaries of work and home with changes in travel, socialization, hobbies, connection, etc. If someone is not showing up in a meeting exactly the way you wanted them to, maybe you can cut them a little slack. Similarly, maybe you can give yourself a little space to be less than perfect (often the folks with the least empathy for others treat themselves with little empathy as well). When we assume good intent, we give people space to be authentic, build better teams, and have better outcomes.
  • Work smart: Find what you are good at and do that as often as possible, partner with folks who excel where you are less strong, and recognize the accomplishment of the company/team/etc. is what actually matters. Success comes when goals and roles are clear: who is driving what, where are there dependencies, and seek to learn what isn’t working. Focus on the outcome the team needs to achieve, and ignore any organizational barriers that may exist. Remember we all work for the same company so the barriers are artificial: the mission is what matters, not the individual.

3. What do you wish you could tell your 22-year-old self?

Find your cohort: self-development is a journey, and you will need witnesses, cheerleaders, and coaches along the way. Even if you are an introvert, you need your people who will help you walk your path to your best self. It may be a running buddy, a friend from childhood, a group you met in your maternity class, your former colleagues from work, your sister, your mom, your spouse…when life gets busy, we often stop taking the time to connect with others, but it is our lifelong partnerships that actually help us see who we were, who we are, and ultimately guide us toward who we want to be. The best leaders seek to know who they are and have a trusted cohort who advises them along the way. If you are more introverted or just prefer a “structured” approach to this endeavor, I highly recommend Designing Your Life as a book to work through as you build your cohort.