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Immelt

“Learn every day… demand the most from yourself and others…”  — Jeff Immelt, Chairman, GE

Continuing with our month of quotable men, I selected this one from GE Chairman Jeff Immelt for two reasons. First, I believe intellectual curiosity and pushing yourself to learn something new every day is crucial to a fulfilling life – both professionally and personally. Secondly, Mr. Immelt’s quote reminded me of one of my first bosses.

My earliest professional mentor was a man who had been trained as a pharmacist, but was leading the marketing department of a firm involved in microprocessor-based multiprocessing. Clearly, this was way outside of the comfort zone for which he’d been trained. But he taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of constantly learning and reinventing yourself.

I’ll never forget the day we celebrated his earning his MBA at the age of 50. He led by example, encouraging me to always keep growing – to always expect more of yourself than what you think you can deliver.

He wasn’t an easy boss. Sometimes he pushed so hard, he made me cry. But I found I was capable of things I never imagined.

As I apply some of these lessons to myself, I have to be careful not to push too hard on others. Like Mr. Immelt, I believe you should demand the most from yourself. But I believe you should expect it from others. Only we can demand the best from ourselves. (And we should.)