What is success to you?
On the morning of my last day on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship, I walked into the dining room for breakfast. It was about 90 minutes before we would disembark at the New York City harbor. The maitre d' greeted me with a question I hadn't heard all week; "Where would I like to be seated?" I'd been seated at my assigned table, table "49", for the last several days. Being given a choice was a new experience for both me, the maitre d' and the waiter. His next question; "Will you be eating alone?". Hu Huang, who was standing to my left (we had never met), said, "We're eating together". She and I dutifully followed our waiter to find our table. For the next hour and a half, I had one of the most enjoyable visits of what had been a very enjoyable cruise. Hu is the Director of International Logistics and Customs Compliance for her lighting company in Cleveland, Ohio. She told me (Chinese accent) that she had been a farmer in China before coming to the United States in 1989. She graduated from high school a year early and came to the United States to go to college and get her master's degree. She told me that in her primary school there was only one textbook for the entire class. She and her classmates took the textbook and illegally tore the pages out. Each student took their selfassigned pages home and hand copied them for the next day so there were enough pages for everyone in the class. The next day, they collated the pages so eventually everyone had their own book. When she was 12, she was assigned to work on a communal mushroom farm. A part of her arrangement was living and sleeping in the dark, dank mushroom shed. If you have ever driven through Chilliwack BC, you might have some
idea of how that mushroom shed must have smelled.
She said, "I thought I would be a success if I could ever go to bed not hungry, if I could ever go to bed with my stomach full. That would be success to me." It is true we all get to define success. What is success to you? A part of what I realize through Hu's story is that success is not a destination. There is no stopping point. There may be rest areas, but there are no campsites on the road to success.
She is, by her original definition, a great success. She is, in my eyes, an overwhelming success. Significant achievement in the face of difficulty could be a reasonable definition of success. And if that is our definition of success, Hu is an extraordinary success.
In today's economy, you and your team may be faced with difficult challenges. You are equal to the task. Your leadership is required to push through this recession successfully. You and your team can look back on one more achievement and you will be a success.