I like to be a pioneer.
I have changed what I do every decade to meet the latest new challenge or to fulfill a dream. I have been an investment banker, feminist activist, Harvard medical student and medical resident, retinal surgeon, venture capitalist, mother of three, and president/owner of the Chelsea Hotel in New York.
Some things I did early (I started HBS in 1965 at age 20), some I did late (I started medical school at age 30 and had twins at age 53), and some things I missed out on because I had no talent (lead singer in a rock band and beach volleyball player at the Olympics).
Why did I do what I did?
Because everyone said it couldn't be done, I like a challenge, and I get bored easily. Because in the 1960s I realized that I was more capable than most men and that business was the proving ground. In the 70s and 80s I felt the need to heal people and commit to the challenge of science. Then I saw the opportunity to combine business and medicine and through my venture fund created leading edge medical devices and biotechnology companies.
I recently retired for a week, organized a bake sale at my kids' school and ran screaming from the brownie table; doing that stuff has always been my worst nightmare.
My advice to other women: don't do what I did. It's exhausting! Find something you love to do, stick with it, and become the best. Thankfully, women don't have as much to prove.