The Foundation for Success
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to host a luncheon with a featuredâ¨ speaker who shared a message that I will not soon forget. John O’Learyâ¨ delivered a very emotional and powerful talk on the qualities of true â¨leadership. It forced us all to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if weâ¨ are demonstrating these qualities in our own lives.
â¨â¨As a 9-year-old boy, John was burned on over 98 percent of his body andâ¨ given less than a one percent chance to live. But despite the odds, he â¨overcame those challenges to become a college graduate, a business owner, aâ¨ chaplain, the Ambassador for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the first inductee â¨into the Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame, an international speaker, a â¨husband and a father.â¨â¨
Through it all, John had the eternal support of his family, nurses, friends â¨and community leaders who touched his life and made him want to fight toâ¨ survive. He related this unforgettable story to everyone in the audience andâ¨ demonstrated how we can all take these challenges and use them for theâ¨ foundation for success in our personal and professional lives.â¨â¨
While John’s hurdles and setbacks outweigh most of ours, I could certainlyâ¨ relate to his story because I have had my fair share of challenges along theâ¨ way, business ventures that didn’t work out, bad economies, illness. you name â¨it. But as CEO of a company, it is my job to weather these storms andâ¨ continue to inspire my team to work hard, even when the payoff is hard toâ¨ see. Sometimes the challenge can seem as difficult as learning to walk â¨again, but as John has proved, one step at a time is the only way to do it.â¨â¨
At firstPRO, we have always worked from a plan. Not a five year plan, but a â¨two year plan. Then we implement those steps. We’ll come to a cross roads andâ¨ then ask, ‘Does this fit into my next two year plan?’ It helps you to notâ¨ veer off course and to stay focused. It makes the bigger plan much moreâ¨ manageable.
â¨â¨When I began my career, I really had to sell people on the concept of â¨staffing and recruiting because so few people knew about it. I heard a lotâ¨ of people tell me no, and I hit a lot of dead ends, but I wanted it badly â¨and I believed in what I was doing. Never underestimate how hard it is to â¨build a company or how much time you will have to devote. In a bad market, â¨it’s a lot of sacrifices. When it’s your business, you’re the one who has to â¨be in the earliest and stay the latest. The challenges are huge, but Iâ¨ always knew I would make it to the other side.
â¨â¨John O’Leary reinforced a message that I learned long ago. Nothing â¨worthwhile is ever easy. After his accident, all of John’s fingers needed to â¨be amputated. When his hero, Jack Buck, heard his story, he sent John anâ¨ autographed baseball from Ozzie Smith. He told John that if he would likeâ¨ another one, he must first write a thank you note for the first baseball.â¨ John persevered and did this until he had over 50 baseballs.â¨â¨
John ended his presentation with two questions we all need to ask ourselves.â¨‘Who is your “Jack”?’ and ‘Who are you a “Jack” to?’ I challenge you to ask â¨yourself those questions today.â¨â¨ So much is achievable, and you can have it all if you position yourself â¨correctly. A true leader knows this and can accomplish this with drive,â¨ determination and integrity. After 23 years in this business, I know that â¨much is true.
By April Fawcett Nagel
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