That's true whether you're an entry-level worker or an executive at a $15 billion (R214 billion) company, like Lyft CFO Brian Roberts.
In an interview with Forbes, Roberts said it can be impossible to recover once you start coasting in your career, something he calls the "kiss of death".
"You have one career. You can never afford to stop learning — I always want to be growing, today even more so," Roberts told Forbes contributor Zack Friedman. "Never coast in your career. That is the kiss of death. It's nearly impossible to recover."
He continued: "When opportunities emerged in my career, I was picked because management knew I was ready to assume bigger leadership roles. Change is the natural state of business, so be ready."
Roberts seems to be making the most of his current position. Since becoming Lyft's CFO in 2014, he's helped the company grow 5,000% and has helped raise more than $5 billion (R71 billion) in capital.
As he climbed the ladder at companies like Lyft, Walmart, and Microsoft, Roberts said he was presented with increasingly better opportunities — and it wasn't just luck.
"I joke that I'd rather be lucky than smart, and I'd be lying to you if I didn't say I caught some lucky breaks along the way," Roberts said. "But I'd also say the harder I worked, the luckier I got. I strongly believe that folks need to push and challenge themselves to be ready to do more."
Roberts is far from the only successful person who claims to be a lifelong learner. Author and TED speaker Simon Sinek told Business Insider in 2016 that the best leaders are "students of leadership" and "tend to think, 'I could do better.'" Similarly, the Harvard Business Review wrote that good leaders are in "perpetual beta mode" and navigate changes in society "by being receptive and able to learn".
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