“When I was 25, everything needed to be done by 30. When I was 21, everything needed to be done by 25 … there are far more people who’ve done the marathon of life instead of the sprint. It’s all about perspective.”

She said resolutely, “Integrity equals consistency.” I have to totally agree with that. Her definition captures the ambiguity of how integrity doesn’t necessarily mean one is doing “good” versus “bad” — it means that they are being absolutely consistent sometimes to a fault but always towards an ideal.

The other takeaway I had from our meeting was something she said about people who “work hard” — as in the common form of phrase of, “S/he really works hard!” Her point being that we tend to value the idea of someone who works hard, but how working hard often isn’t good enough because, as she said, someone who simply works hard may be doing that hard work with what she called “small dreams.”

Instead, the paradigm she seeks in the people that work with her isn’t one of “hard workers” but those with truly big dreams. She quickly added, “Big dreamers … that execute well.”

I found this conversation extremely useful for when and if I am told, in a complimentary fashion and with only good intention, that I am a hard worker — which happens from time to time, but it’s always made me feel uncomfortable … but I didn’t know why. For I now know, if I want to be truly effective in life, that I might say … and ask back, “Thank you! But am I dreaming big enough?”