Apr 24

The first step to success…

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The first step to success…

Do you know the inspirational story of Chris Gardner? His life story is the subject of a film starring Will Smith and his son Jaden – The Pursuit of Happyness (and that is the correct spelling).

Essentially, in San Francisco in 1981, Gardner loses his home, his marriage fails and he ends up homeless with his 5 year old son and only $22 in his pocket. The circumstances are immaterial, but suffice to say he embarks on a one-year internship with the aim of becoming a broker at a large brokerage house. Despite having very little money and having to sleep rough (often in homeless hostels) he manages to care for his son and secure a post. He eventually went on to found his own brokerage and secure his own personal fortune.

What is remarkable was that Gardner never gave up. He never gave up when he had to sleep in railway stations at night. He never gave up when he couldn’t sell the bone density scanners that he sank his life savings into. He never reveals to his co-workers the dire straits that he is in financially.

Gardners story is inspirational and you can find clips of the film on YouTube quite easily. My particular favourite is the basketball scene, the gist of which is where he says to his son:

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Protect your dreams. If you want something go get it.”

Great quote, very inspirational, but what makes it count is that it comes from someone who had lost everything and yet still kept going. Most of us are fortunate that we will never encounter this level of misfortune. However how many people do you know who look back and get lost in regrets about the past? The only thing you can change is the path in front of you.

 The great thing about Chris Gardner is that, to this day, he receives requests from help from people down on their luck and he always helps them. He almost has a mantra (if you read his book) and that is “Start from where you are”.

If you want to be the CEO and are only the post room errand boy, start from where you are. Plenty of CEO’s have made that journey…. If you career is not going where it needs to go, define what you want and begin the journey… this starts from where you are. If you want more success in your life, it is there in front of you. Simply start from where you are. You can’t change the past, all you can do is change the here and now. Success starts when you live in the present, dream big for the future… and yes, start from where you are.

If you don’t know where you want to go, perhaps talking to a coach like me will help.

The road to success begins with the first footstep. Have courage. Start from where you are… and don’t ever give up.

This post was originally posted by Peter Duffell on LinkedIn.

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