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Rising to the Challenge
Cover of Rising to the Challenge
Rising to the Challenge
My Leadership Journey
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"There are all kinds of reasons why people fail to fulfill their potential. Perhaps they lack opportunity, perhaps they lack support, perhaps they lack tools or training or education. But everyone has potential. This I know. Our Founders knew it too. They had the radical insight that the right to fulfill your potential— to use your God-given gifts—is a right that comes from God and cannot be taken away by government."
Since the 2006 publication of her New York Times bestseller, Tough Choices, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has faced a new round of challenges. She ran for the Senate as a Republican in deep-blue California but was unable to unseat the entrenched incumbent. She battled breast cancer, wondering if she'd even survive. Worst of all, she suffered the devastating loss of a beloved daughter. Yet despite these setbacks and tragedies, she remains undaunted: "I've come to see lessons and blessings in these passages. I know now that life is not measured in time. Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace."
Now, Fiorina shares the lessons she's learned from both her difficulties and triumphs. Drawing on her experience as a pioneering business and nonprofit leader, a politically active citizen, and a parent, she diagnoses the largest problem facing our country today: untapped potential. Too often, American men and women are held back by systems that prevent them from working and flourishing. Too many people lose hope for themselves. Too many lack the opportunity to use their gifts and live lives of meaning, dignity, and purpose.
In 2014, Fiorina launched the Unlocking Potential Project, a new grassroots organization, to share a message with those who worry about America's future: we have all the resources we need to prosper, but we don't tap into them. By ignoring conservative principles—or failing to articulate those principles in ways that connect with regular people—politicians have failed their constituents, abandoning them to the crushing burden of our bloated government.
Fiorina believes that politics, like business, is primarily about people. With warmth and compassion, she provides a vision that reaches across the usual barriers of gender, race, income, and party affiliation to craft a message that appeals to a wide range of Americans: a message of hope. As she learned facing life's challenges, "Hope is a curiously strong thing." Her story—and her ideas—will restore hope to those discouraged about the future.
From the Hardcover edition.
"There are all kinds of reasons why people fail to fulfill their potential. Perhaps they lack opportunity, perhaps they lack support, perhaps they lack tools or training or education. But everyone has potential. This I know. Our Founders knew it too. They had the radical insight that the right to fulfill your potential— to use your God-given gifts—is a right that comes from God and cannot be taken away by government."
Since the 2006 publication of her New York Times bestseller, Tough Choices, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has faced a new round of challenges. She ran for the Senate as a Republican in deep-blue California but was unable to unseat the entrenched incumbent. She battled breast cancer, wondering if she'd even survive. Worst of all, she suffered the devastating loss of a beloved daughter. Yet despite these setbacks and tragedies, she remains undaunted: "I've come to see lessons and blessings in these passages. I know now that life is not measured in time. Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace."
Now, Fiorina shares the lessons she's learned from both her difficulties and triumphs. Drawing on her experience as a pioneering business and nonprofit leader, a politically active citizen, and a parent, she diagnoses the largest problem facing our country today: untapped potential. Too often, American men and women are held back by systems that prevent them from working and flourishing. Too many people lose hope for themselves. Too many lack the opportunity to use their gifts and live lives of meaning, dignity, and purpose.
In 2014, Fiorina launched the Unlocking Potential Project, a new grassroots organization, to share a message with those who worry about America's future: we have all the resources we need to prosper, but we don't tap into them. By ignoring conservative principles—or failing to articulate those principles in ways that connect with regular people—politicians have failed their constituents, abandoning them to the crushing burden of our bloated government.
Fiorina believes that politics, like business, is primarily about people. With warmth and compassion, she provides a vision that reaches across the usual barriers of gender, race, income, and party affiliation to craft a message that appeals to a wide range of Americans: a message of hope. As she learned facing life's challenges, "Hope is a curiously strong thing." Her story—and her ideas—will restore hope to those discouraged about the future.
From the Hardcover edition.
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    Prologue

    THE TWO POLICE OFFICERS STOOD AWKWARDLY IN our living room. They shifted uncomfortably, as if worried that the mud on their boots might soil the light carpet. What was really bothering them, though, was the news they had to deliver. Frank and I looked at them and knew they had something terrible to say. Hope is a curiously strong thing and so we hoped that what they had to tell us wasn't what we feared.

    They asked us to sit down. Frank collapsed in a chair. I sat on the carpet next to him, my arms wrapped around his knees. The police officers said our daughter was dead, three thousand miles away. We hadn't heard from her in a couple of weeks. Frank had been in touch with the volunteer paramedics he had worked with in New Jersey, and they asked the police to check on her. She was thirty-four years old. At that moment, we lost both the woman she was and the woman she could have been. All our hope for her and her life died. Frank and I leaned into each other and sobbed, for Lori, for our family, for ourselves. A heart truly can feel as though it is breaking apart into a thousand shattered pieces.

    The news wasn't completely unexpected. Lori had been battling addictions for years. She had been in and out of rehab three times. As anyone who has loved someone with an addiction knows, you can force someone into rehab, but you can't make her well. Only the addict can do that. Lori couldn't—or wouldn't—take that first step of admitting she was powerless over her addiction. And ultimately her body just gave out.

    I had known her since she was six years old. I fell in love with her and her big sister, Tracy, almost before I fell in love with their father, my husband, Frank. They were little angels, both to be with and to behold. Tracy was a brunette, and looked like her father. Lori had long blond hair and bright, sparkling eyes. We came into each other's lives just when we needed each other the most. Lori was a bouncy, happy, and loving child. I was a manager at AT&T, eager for a family. In Frank and Tracy and Lori, I found my family.

    All young people represent potential, but Lori had more than most. She was smart and hardworking. Whatever she did, whether it was tending bar or marketing pharmaceuticals, she was the best. And more important, Lori was a kind, compassionate soul. On Frank's birthday one year, while Lori was in college, he was busy in court giving a deposition until late at night. When he got home after midnight, Lori was waiting for him. She and a girlfriend had decorated the house for his birthday. She had a tremendous amount to give—brains, talent, but most of all, love.

    We worried that Lori drank too much in college, but we didn't think she had an addiction. Those were good years—or so they seemed at the time. I had taken Lori around to visit different campuses, and she had settled on Fairleigh Dickinson, near our home in New Jersey. She lived with us while she went to school. She did well academically and thrived socially. After graduation she toyed with the idea of going on to graduate school but got an offer for a job in sales at a pharmaceutical company. It was a good job, but at first she didn't want to take it—she didn't think she would succeed. She ended up being great at it.

    What we didn't know until much later was that behind the scenes in those seemingly happy, high-functioning years, Lori began abusing prescription drugs. Not long after graduation she got her own apartment, met a man, and eventually got married. Her marriage would take her to Richmond, Virginia, for a time. There her drug use got worse. Like so many high-achieving young women, Lori also struggled...

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