I met with a local business owner who recently celebrated her 25th year in business.

I wanted to interview her for this column, as I have with many people before. This meeting lasted three times longer than normal.

She impresses me as being one of the most accomplished people I have ever met. Her name is Carmen Bermudez, and she is chairwoman and CEO of Mission Management and Trust Co.

Even as a young child, Bermudez had high expectations of herself. Her visions were so grandiose, most people thought she was just dreaming.

As expected, she faced huge obstacles and many setbacks. When the door of opportunity would not open, she simply found another way around. She set incredibly high goals, and achieved them on multiple occasions.

I asked Bermudez to share her secret to achieving goals. She said they were not goals or dreams to her, they were her mission.

“You will be committed to accomplishing a mission, and it is too easy to give up on a dream,” she said.

Every hurdle and setback taught her a valuable lesson.

Eventually, she learned everything she needed to know to complete each mission.

“It is easy to have courage when you know what you are doing,” said Bermudez.

According to Bermudez, you must surround yourself with good people, who know more than you do.

It is okay to start in the basement and work your way to the top if you have to. You must be grateful and appreciate each floor in between.

Once you get to the top, don’t forget about the people behind you. Send the elevator back down to the basement and bring other people up with you.

When I mentioned how impressed I was with her staff, she corrected me very quickly. “They are not employees or staff, we are all part of the same team. Every teammate plays an important part in our overall success.”

Thanks to Carmen for sharing these valuable tips. There will be more to follow in a future article.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.