From Secretary to CEO
From Secretary to CEO
A Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder Without Losing Your Identity
Perfect Bound Softcover
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From Secretary to CEO: A Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder Without Losing Your Identity is a book that speaks to how individuals can maximize their impact in any job, career, or life circumstance without compromising their identity, and still preserving their most precious human resource: integrity. By leading its readers through a series of illustrative anecdotes and ending each chapter with a summarizing "lesson learned," this book studies human behavior to unfold the not-so-secret secrets of understanding how the actions of others can help you understand and master your own. From Secretary to CEO: A Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder Without Losing Your Identity contains stories and insights that will be helpful, entertaining, and encouraging to individuals at every stage and circumstance of life.  Readers will also be introduced to an innovative concept coined by the author and learn how to become a "Black Belt" of their own identity.


Written by business and academic advisor Natalya I. Sabga, From Secretary to CEO: A Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder Without Losing Your Identity makes liberal use of inspiring personal examples and achievements that every reader can relate to in overcoming and reaching any personal or professional challenge or milestone while still maintaining a self of self and self-preservation.

Chapter 10

Can versus Should


Meet Mr. Can who wakes every day thankful for the blare of the alarm clock, because it means he is alive and able to get dressed for another day at work. Mr. Can also does not mind rising just a little earlier to get to the gym because he remembers the time when his foot was broken and he could not move without assistance. And, regardless of the tasks he has to complete that day or the contentious personalities he will meet, Mr. Can knows that he has earned his title and position by believing that he could, by making it look easy because of his agreeable can do attitude, and by making everyone else believe it, too.


Mr. Should, on the other hand, works for Mr. Can. Mr. Should is a good employee who arrives promptly at 8:15 A.M. every morning and does not leave a minute before 5:30 P.M. Mr. Should does exactly what he should, no less and no more, and without thinking too hard about what else could be done. The one thing Mr. Should does give a lot of thought to, however, is why he still works for Mr. Can. Mr. Should has completed his share of tasks, has dealt diplomatically with his share of cantankerous colleagues, and has met a majority of his deadlines. Not all on time, but close enough.


The primary difference between Mr. Can and Mr. Should is really more about attitude than aptitude. Mr. Can sees himself as a winner and commands that respect from others, while Mr. Should spends too much time whining. Mr. Can sees himself as a victor in his own mind, regardless of the adversity that faces him, and thus ends up in a self-fulfilling prophecy of victory. Mr. Should has a defeatist attitude, and his perception is his reality.


Some people are just programmed that way: I lose, you win. Someone with the lose/win mentality (aka Mr. Should) essentially has no personal standards, no demands, and no vision for himself or herself. (13) And that is the unfortunate bed in which they lie. Instead of channeling their choices and focusing on their forte, they simply give up before their feet touch the starting line. In their mind, they are the existential nice guy who finishes last when, in fact, they have never even bothered to truly enter the race! They view their world as one tiny microcosm in a macrocosmic universe, replete with go-getters and constant competition, against which they stand no chance regardless of how hard they work. However, most of life is not a competition; at least, not a competition with or against others but perhaps, yes, a competition with yourself. (14)


In athletic competition, participants are not graded against their own capacity and results; rather, they are scored relative to the other competitors. Winning is synonymous with beating. (15) This scoring system may make sense in order to claim a winner, on the field or in a true game. Conversely, competition on the martial arts mat is synonymous with streetwise fighting and self-defense. The end goal is to master your own strength, thereby defeating your opponent and coming through alive, the victor.


Similarly on the corporate track, one's own potential maps the path, and the realization of concrete goals is the prize. Attitude toward challenges and performance on these challenges signals who will be a winner and who will lose. In this sense, success has little to do with the others in your league, apart from how you treat them in order to get things done, and more to do with how you position yourself to achieve results. Results are the carriers of corporate success.


So being a task and results-oriented person myself, completion at the highest degree possible was always my goal - hitting the ball outside of the park, if you will. The pressure was on, and on me, to be exact. I was often caught in a catch-22, when a project with unrealistic deadlines and mis-set expectations hit my desk. I was unwilling to enter into projects that compromised the integrity of my work and my ability to deliver one-hundred percent, yet I believed in always portraying myself with a team-player attitude and at least giving it one-hundred percent, whether or not I truly thought I could get that much back in results. An inevitable catch-22. Yet even when I felt I was getting an eighty percent return, I reminded myself that my eighty percent was more valuable than someone else's one-hundred percent. Simply put, I packed more value in. Valiant efforts, optimism, and work ethic weighed more than wordiness and self-promotion. Although I did not say much, and at times what I did say was unpopular yet necessary, those around me who talked the talk to inflate their position had little more to show than empty results at the end.


Lesson 10


A is for attitude. Realize that you can make a difference if you have the courage to work diligently and not lose sight of your purpose, allowing your motivation and atti

When Natalya Sabga chose her college major, she did not realize that the better part of her adult life would be spent as a student of human behavior. Natalya's natural inclination to observe has it made it both easy and enjoyable for her to perform cause and effect analyses on her own situations and those around her...from which the majority of the anecdotes in this book were written.


Natalya earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Psychology, a Masters in Economics, and is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).


Her background and rite of passage for writing From Secretary to CEO includes seven years practicing in the private sector, gaining the most exposure as the manager of a team of diverse professionals and equal to her once-superiors.  Subsequently, she entered the public sector and the field of Executive Education at a state University, in which she maximized the synergies between her passion for education and her vast experience in the corporate sector. 


Natalya is currently working on her third nonfiction narrative and dispensing related professional advice when asked. (


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