Entrepreneurs

This top Silicon Valley CEO has 3 pieces of career advice for young people just starting out

"Be bold," says Padmasree Warrior, the CEO of driverless electric vehicle start-up NIO U.S.

That's one bit of advice she would give to young people just getting started in their careers. Before running the U.S. division of the global premium auto company aiming to compete in the same space as Elon Musk's Tesla, Warrior was a top executive at both Motorola and Cisco Systems.

Looking back, she says her biggest mistake in her own career was being too cautious for too long.

"The biggest career mistake I have made is to stay in, perhaps, my comfort zone too long," Warrior says to CNBC. "When you're successful and things are being given to you, you tend to think, 'Oh, hey I am happy, why disturb the status quo?' I wish I had taken risks sooner in my career."

Padmasree Warrior, CEO of NIO U.S.
Photo courtesy Bloomberg

Warrior left big tech and became the CIO of NIO U.S. in December, 2015.

"My advice is, if you're 22 and just thinking about starting a career ... don't limit yourself," she says.

But big dreams are only the first step. You also have to hustle. "[T]hink about what you want to do and push yourself to get there," she says.

"Don't underestimate the importance of working hard. I think people will sometimes tell you, 'Hey you can do anything you want and, you know, the world is your oyster, you can accomplish things.' That's all true, but hard work really pays off at the end," says Warrior. "I work incredibly hard to this day."

"Don't underestimate the importance of working hard." -Padmasree Warrior, CEO of  NIO U.S.

Finally, says Warrior, never give up. She doesn't.

"Right now, [NIO is] in a start-up mode. And we take on things that we, when we start, we all sit in a room like, 'Wow, can we do this?' and we push ourselves," says Warrior.

"And there are days when it gets really tough, the temptation would be to give up," she says.

Instead, "give yourself milestones, then you celebrate that milestone and you feel a sense of accomplishment versus feeling like the goal is so far out I don't know if I'm ever going to reach that," says Warrior.

"And so young people, I would say stick with it, don't give up and keep trying."

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