Keys to Success in Business and Your Personal Success

When asked to lead a workshop on the keys to success in business, I came up with a theory. The truth is, I wanted the group of 80 people to wrestle with their own definitions of success and envision their own personal success story. So how to achieve this?

In order to inspire, I decided the workshop needed to begin with an authentic story. My story about labels.

The intent was not to have people learn more about me. I wanted my vulnerability to give them a story for context, that might help them see their own pursuit of success in business differently.

In order to prepare, I drew a timeline of my career, making hash marks for each defining moment that played into my personal success. What story could I share to inspire? And then it hit me.

keys to success in business timeline

The majority of my defining moments were significant challenges

Without getting detailed about every defining moment, the surprising realization was that the majority of these moments were negative… or at least at the time, felt like significant challenges. And therein lies the magic. Looking at these events now from the zoomed-out perspective, I realized that each of these events was catalytic in shaping a stronger, more unique version of me. Each one now plays an important role in my career and personal success. I will share in greater detail below. But first…

Keys to Success in Business

A refreshing and more realistic perspective on success:

keys to success

Image via Demetri Martin

Life’s challenges could have been my excuse. Instead, success and amazing opportunities were born each time I began to accept each challenge as a unique gift.

Success in Business, Personal Success and Relabeling Yourself

My personal success story continues to unfold but here’s what I realized. Accepting default labels from life’s challenges can easily limit your aim… if you allow it.

I could have let life label me as the rejected, inexperienced, remote employee. But I didn’t.

The keys to success come from:

  • taking responsibility to relabel yourself
  • resolving to use life’s challenges as your unique strengths to help others

Here’s how that looks for me:

Keys to Success in Business and Personal Success

As an example, I went from not being hired by Block Imaging as a receptionist… to now serving as their Senior Vice President of Marketing.

As another example, I went from being a remote employee very removed from the team…. to instigator of content marketing culture. It was because I was so removed from my team that I had to figure out ways of staying connected digitally and building trust and influence from afar. Overcoming this challenge is the very reason I was able to imagine a content marketing culture that empowers every employee to better connect with our industry through online content.

Some of the real keys to success are:

  • Being you in spite of labels 
  • Using your own defining moments to make a difference 
  • Figuring out WHY you do what you do

So now it’s your turn. Draw up your own timeline and see which defining moments stand out. How can you use each challenge for good… to empower you… to get a clearer picture of why you do what you do… and to help others in your journey to pursue success?


  1. Love it – awesome reminder of your presentation and our time at Spring Hill.

    So proud of you, your story and how you’re helping others to re-label and thrash from caterpillars to butterflies!


  2. Don Stanley says:

    This is a fantastic story Krista! And it shows the value of framing experiences. We all have the choice on the meaning we give to experiences. And it’s the meaning we ascribe that makes the difference. So happy for you and how your journey has unfolded. I’ll definitely be sharing this with some of my students and friends.


  1. […] Keys to Success in Business and Your Personal Success by Krista Kotrla. Key quote: “My personal success story continues to unfold but here’s what I realized. Accepting default labels from life’s challenges can easily limit your aim… if you allow it.” […]

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