Road Signs For Success

By Kay Caldwell

What are the lessons for success? There are many recommendations from some very successful people. I just finished reading a list from the famous golfer, Tiger Woods. One of his lessons is “to hang with the winners. They understand the pressures and situations in which you find yourself.” It made me stop to think, what determines a winner? I also pondered on what do you do in the meantime until you feel like a winner?

I recall a story from Paul Harvey who started his broadcast with, “You can tell when you are on the road to success. It’s uphill all the way.” His story was about a young man in Kansas City who had a burning desire to be a cartoonist. He went from newspaper to newspaper trying to sell his cartoons. But each editor coldly and quickly suggested that he had no talent and implied that he should choose another line of work. But he persevered, determined to make his dream a reality. He wanted to draw. For several months, the rejections came. Finally, in a move of “grace” he was hired by a minister to draw illustrations for advertising church events. This young artist was not discouraged by his unusual opportunity. Rather, he remembered the wise words of Benjamin Disraeli: “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for the opportunity when it comes.” Working out of a small, mouse-infested shed owned by the church, he struggled to be creative. Ironically, this less-than-ideal working environment provided the inspiration for his most famous character. He named him Mickey Mouse. And of course, the man we are talking about is Walt Disney.  Walt realized success was an uphill climb. It is not where you start it is where you finish. Capitalize on the opportunities.

Once, while I was employed at Southwest Airlines, I was discouraged by the leaders in a particular department. They were very cliquish which is not the Southwest Airlines style at all.  It was startling to me how they complained of being overworked but would rarely provide opportunities to others on their team. Each seemed very territorial which is a sign of a very insecure leader. The fact is a title doesn’t always make you a winner or a leader. Tiger said to hang with those that understand what you are going through. I guess the people in that department did hang together because they were of like minds.  As leaders in any role, we need to provide opportunities to others and help them make their dreams come true.  Great leaders never stifle someone’s spirit. That is what makes them great.  I know with Walt Disney, someone saw in him a great talent and gave him a chance. As leaders we have to realize there are winners all around us.  Titles don’t mean much to me, but responsibility in knowing how to treat people is the greatest trait of all. I always challenge someone when they call anyone a loser. Everyone has a contribution to make, whether large or small.  We all have a purpose in this life. We were created to fulfill a mission here on earth.  Opportunities will come your way. Often they are tailor-made just for you. The package might not look like you think it should but don’t be afraid to try it on for size.

Like Tiger Woods, you need to make your own list of “lessons for success” that match your purpose, desires and dreams. There are so many people we come in contact with who choose to share knowledge. The rest we make up as we go along.

My lesson for success is “to laugh often and love much; win respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to appreciate beauty and to find the best in others.”

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