Yesterday’s Office Hours featured Sarah Lewis, who talked about her impressive career journey and how art and creativity are important in her life. Lewis started at Goldman Sachs but quickly realized that she wanted to pursue her creative passion in the workplace. Lewis has worked as a curator and earned a Ph.D. He is also the recently published author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery.

Her long and successful career has given her plenty of experience with success and failure, as well as insight into how to achieve your goals. Lewis was happy to share her thoughts on various topics with us.

On Authenticity

Lewis discussed how critical it is to be real with yourself if you want the courage to change course and find your true path. She said, “Without authenticity you don’t have any power… it took that level of conviction and the authenticity of my own interest that it would serve my life to make the decisions that I have.”

On Failure Leading to Success

“Back turned paintings” is a term for work that isn’t quite successful, and Lewis uses this as a metaphor for the failures one has before finally achieving success in their career. She said, “Everyone has the ‘back turned paintings’ on their path and they are critical for these pioneering path-breaking achievements that can come no other way.”

On “Mentorship”

Although she believes in the benefits of having a mentor, she would push you to seek something even more. Lewis said, “It is actually most important to make sure you have champions and that’s different from a mentor; someone whose belief in you rivals a kind of love. That, I think, is what allows people to have careers that don’t follow a given model, because a mentor can tell you what they would have done in hindsight, but a champion believes in you unconditionally.”

On Surrender

Rather than giving up, Lewis suggests, “Surrender is about this understanding that we are not giving up when we surrender, we are actually givin`g over. We have mentors, we have champions, but we also have this universal manager, we have this instinct in us that lets us know what direction we need to be going in.”

And Finally, on What Inspires Her!

“What really inspires me is seeing what someone is willing to sacrifice for what they care about in this life because through that you see what someone loves.”

Watch Sarah’s full Office Hours video for more useful tips.

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