Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: This is the No. 1 thing parents can do to set their kids up for career success

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch is often asked, "What's the number one thing parents can do to help their kids achieve career success?"

"That's a tough question," the mom of four millennials tells CNBC Make It. "And I can really only answer with what worked for me."

She says that like most kids, hers would sometimes "whine about the unfairness of life, or how hard it was to make new friends at school or how much extra work it took to get an A instead of a B or a C."

Like many parents, she'd respond with lectures about hard work, discipline and perseverance. But Welch's lectures were always punctuated by a simple message that she says is key to helping kids understand the relationship between putting in extra effort and achieving your goals: "Everything good is hard."

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch
CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

"They didn't love hearing that," she says. "But pretty early on, even by middle school, it began to make its own case and they began to see for themselves how a boatload of effort did tend to pay off."

Now that they're adults, Welch says that her kids have been exposed to the normal adversities of working life, like job layoffs, bad bosses and difficult assignments. But despite these challenges, they've all found professional success, and Welch believes that it's because of her mantra.

"Believe me, I know all too well how impossible it is to control what your kids do at school or how they fare in the real world," she says. "Life happens, but don't discount the importance of your influence on their career trajectory."

She recommends that parents lead by example, demonstrating for kids that "when it comes to achieving lasting success, there are very few shortcuts."

"Hard things are hard for a reason," she emphasizes. "They're worth it."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at gettowork@cnbc.com.

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

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