No one reading this (other than my parents) will have met my ‘little’ sister, Dawn. Actually she isn’t little, being two inches taller than me, and in no way diminutive in personality or courage. She works in the UK as an IT Manager for a growing staffing organization. During the last year she has rolled out their entire IT infrastructure, working up to 80 hours a week, traveling all over the country, staying away from home for long periods of time and not having a day off for about eight months.
She is the type of person who will do this because it’s her job. Not for the glory, or the promotion, or anything to do with her ego. Last week the company recognized her achievements by giving her the CEO’s award for Outstanding Employee of the Year. It came to her as completely unexpected (although, apparently, by unanimous vote from the executive management), and with typical modesty, no-one in the family found out about it until four days later. I didn’t know until my Mum called to tell me. Here is a link to an article in a recruitment industry journal about the award.
When I got the news yesterday about my sister, I was in the middle of reading Napoleon Hill’s book “Selling You”. Which is a condensed version of his earlier book “Think and Grow Rich”. Hill is one of the earliest sales motivation and training gurus, having begun his career in the 1930’s. A lot of what he has to say has been used by subsequent speakers and experts on the subject.
I like Hill’s writing style, it isn’t sensationalist, and, unlike some of the more recent writers in the same vein, he doesn’t focus entirely on being wealthy or offer ‘quick and easy’ ways to have a perfect, cash rich, life. He talks of being a success in a much broader sense (living an ethical life, giving value to customers and giving back to the community in which you operate), about the difficulties of following a chosen path, how taking the knocks in a positive way are as important as achieving the successes and how tenacity is one of the most important qualities a person in any walk of life should have.
I reflected on the fact that my sister is just such a person. Having had to face some very difficult personal challenges, that would have broken a lesser person, as well managing a career that is never easy and quite often, thankless. But she keeps going with one goal in mind and a set of principles which guide the interactions she has in her work and in her personal life. I knew it before, but it never struck me so squarely – success isn’t about recognition or anything that can come from the outside, it’s about a path that you set from the inside and then achieve for yourself. Dawn is certainly an example to me.