My 18 year old son, Stephen, graduated from high school last month and this week he joined the Air National Guard. I couldn’t be prouder of him! 🙂 Not just because he has signed up to serve my country, but also because Stephen is truly the master of his destiny. When Stephen was only 4 years old, I remember complaining to my mom about how strong minded and determined he was. And like any wise grandparent, who has seen their share of stubborn children (no names being mentioned of course J) she calmly said to me “Well, those are great qualities in a CEO… but no one appreciates them in a 4 year old”.
Those words were with me this week as I witnessed Stephen raise his right hand and solemnly swear to uphold our Constitution. As I reflect on the first 18 years of his life, I am constantly reminded of the importance of being strong minded and determined. When Stephen wanted to go to college, instead of relying on parents to fund his dreams or to take out expensive loans, Stephen figured out how to get a college education on his own. When Stephen was faced with other obstacles, such as a difficult Calculus course, or getting on the high school soccer team, I witnessed again how his determination kept him on track to achieving his goals. I’ve witnessed him try… fail… get up… and try again… many, many times.
So, every time I feel disheartened with a challenge in my business… when things don’t go my way… when I miss a goal… or I’m out of my comfort zone trying something new… I’m inspired by my son’s determination and it reminds me that the qualities that make a great CEO – like knowing your own mind and having the determination to stick to your goals – are qualities that are cultivated every day in the little challenges that arise.
Go out and make your dreams your reality. Be sure to build time and expectations into your business to account for challenges. And remember that trying and failing isn’t really failing… the only failure is when you don’t get up and try again.