As Paralympians compete for gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea, medalist Bonnie St. John has advice for those who want to succeed: Never ask for permission.
At age 19 during the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria, St. John became the first African-American to win medals at the Winter Paralympics. She won a silver (overall performance) and two bronze medals (one in slalom and the other in giant slalom).
She went on to attend Harvard where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in economics. Shortly thereafter, St. John was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the world's most prestigious scholarships, to attend Oxford University where she again studied economics.
So how did this self-described "one-legged black girl from San Diego" go on to achieve so much, after having her right leg amputated at age five?
St. John tells CNBC Make It that her many accomplishments are due to the fact that she never asks for permission.
In fact, asking for permission is the biggest hindrance to success, according to the Paralympian who has worked at IBM and in the White House as the director for human capital issues under the Clinton administration
She adds that she sees this common habit most often among females, in her current job as a leadership consultant for Fortune 500 companies.
In this role, St. John works with women in senior positions on how to "find their voice and max their contribution" within the company — a task which many women find hard to do.