“The Only Place Success Comes Before Work is in the Dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi
I was recently asked to deliver the key note to a signature event hosted by Forward/Adelante Business Alliance in partnership with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. I had to keep in mind the imposed theme of marketing to diversity while preparing my thoughts; this caused me to reflect on my own journey, as an immigrant and a business man. Is true that every initiation point begins with an idea, to beat the odds, however, an idea is not enough. It requires much more than that, it requires hard work, and it begins with a dream.
Dare to Dream: Asthe oldest of three growing in a land where communism denied us freedom of speech and any other rights and privileges afforded a free society we found ourselves longing for our dad as he was incarcerated for fighting to free his land from the cruelty of government oppression. He became a political prisoner and we were not wanted in our own land. Mom tended to us and raised us in the belief that the future was good and yet to come. She focused our hearts in our faith in God and the dream of someday being free and living in America where our dreams could be realized. She was right. 41 years later here we are, our families beat the odds and now live free with our own families, home and businesses in this wonderful place we call the United States of America.
Have a Plan: You must have a plan to go along with those dreams. And it must be oriented with both short and long term goals; Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable and accountable, realistically high and relevant and ultimately timely.
Adapt: Adapting is a critical element to beating the odds and to success in general. One of the greatest lessons I learned while in the service was the necessity to adapt to changes, the mantra was ‘adapt or die”. In the life of entrepreneurship the same principle applies, particularly as it refers to changing markets and impending failures. You must have the mental strength to continue to push yourself to beat the odds.
Lead by Example: Cease the initiative and model the proper behaviors. Not all opportunities are good initiatives so you must seek the knowledge and leadership skills to hone and grow your business acumen. Tomosteffectivelyleadothers,considermasteringtheartof self- leadership.Understandingwho you areandwhatgivesyour life valuewillhelpyou toestablishyour life’spurpose andpursue itwith confidence,skill, and commitment. Know where you are going and how you aregoingtogetthere! Leadership should be focused on the future, innovation, where the organization is headed, as well as determining what the right things for the organization to do are.
Believe in Yourself: Believing in what you do is the first step in realizing your dreams. You must believe in yourself! The use of daily affirmations and positive thinking can be an effective mechanism as you struggle with your fears. If you believe that you can do something, then it will be so.
Faith: Faith and belief go hand and hand, however faith is not taught in business schools today or any secular leadership academy; it’s passed down through our families and tested through life’s journey as part of our values system. Faith is different than belief because it forces us to trust in something or someone we haven’t seen.
Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities: Some time back I opted to look at problems through a different lens. I began to think as problems as potential opportunities. Challenges that needed solving, and when mutual solutions could be reached, then they became profitable business endeavors to all involved in the process. For me, it has become a matter of having the right attitude, so I offer this formula for success A=(S+K) + Goals = PBC = IR P/O.
Attitude equals the sum of skills and knowledge plus a good goals achievement plan that leads to positive behavior changes which equals improved results at the personal and organizational level.
Give Back: Giving back is essential to success, you see, I believe we truly are our brothers keepers and while each of us is responsible for their own actions and decisions, beating the odds comes with a societal responsibility of helping those who otherwise can’t help themselves. This can be easily done through volunteering and donating your time and money in areas of interest to you that ultimately help your community to grow and thrive.
How is success defined for you? For me is Faith and Family.