Road Signs For Success – August 6, 2008

By Kay Caldwell

Have you ever met someone who you would describe as extraordinary? I have. You’ve probably heard of my friend Herb Kelleher, who was one of the founders of Southwest Airlines Airline and served as the company’s Chairman of the Board, Chief Operating Officer and President until recent years.  Herb reminds me of that old television commercial where someone in a roomful of chattering people would say, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton and he says…” Then the room would grow so quiet you could hear a pin drop and the announcer would say, “When E.F. Hutton talks people listen.”

Herb is like E.F. Hutton — when he talks, people listen. When he walks into a room you can feel his energy fill the entire area. People always turn to look. Even if you don’t know him, you are drawn to him. In my tenure at Southwest, I would covet whatever time or chance encounter I had just to talk with him. He truly understands human nature and had impeccable timing for knowing what to say and when to say it. I remember a speech he gave in Salt Lake City, Utah to a room full of writers, dignitaries, press and the local Southwest Marketing and Management team. I was sitting there listening in awe of him. It had been awhile since I had heard him speak and I had forgotten how charismatic he is when he captures a crowd.  His words seem to flow effortlessly and he has such a humorous way of looking at things.

People like Herb Kelleher almost seem destined to be successful. But Herb would probably agree with William Jennings Bryan who said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Herb would tell you the best way to predict the future is to create it. I have known others who have created their destiny. I know people who have walked away from secure jobs in corporate America in search of greater satisfaction for their destiny. Many of them saw their potential to serve others and broke away from the traditional workforce to do just that. So what are some of the things you can do to create your destiny?

It is important that we visualize who we want to be and make things come alive for us that inspire us and make us happy. When was the last time you felt truly happy? Is your life the design you desire? If not, are you willing to change to make your dreams come true? I believe destiny is the design for your life with a specific outcome that you create. Whether you realize it or not, you have set your destiny in motion. Some people let life happen and there are those that make life happen. Which category are you in? Are you one who thinks, oh well, life has dealt me a bunch of lemons; or, these are the lemons I have around me, where is the sugar so I can make lemonade!

There is a beautiful, inspirational song performed by Lee Ann Womack entitled I Hope You Dance.  A portion of it goes like this…. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. I hope you dance.”

Destiny is like a dance. It’s not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. Everyone has the choice to sit it out or dance. What’s your destiny? It’s your choice. I hope you dance. I hope you dance.

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