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CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: Even the best CEOs need to remember that its the path they pave for the future that will provide them with immortality, not their current presence!

How does one win an Oscar?  Is George Washington considered so highly as an individual because he was the first American president or because he now has the capital of the U.S named after him?  How about Abraham Lincoln, not the first American president but just as renowned.  Is it because he was the first to abolish slavery in the U.S or is it because there sits a huge statue of him in front of the parliament on capital hill?  What about John Chretien, a former Canadian prime minister, is he remembered for his political leadership or because of the way half of his face appears paralysed when he speaks?  Will Jack Welch still be thought of as one of the greatest CEOs in thirty years from now, how about if an even greater CEO replaces him, or if GE changes their name to Welch?  Will Michael Jordan remain a permanent trademark of basketball history or is LeBron James already clouding out Jordan’s fame?  How about Elvis, is he really remembered as the king of rock and roll or as the young heartthrob that killed himself.  Further, John F. Kennedy, although he had a short career as the president of the United States, he did manage to succeed in courageous political strides, however, most would argue that his current memory in the eyes of the world is as the victim of perhaps the most famous assassination.  Finally, does it really matter?  Is it more important to care for how one would be thought of after he or she has departed this life?  Or is it more important to care for today as appose to tomorrow?  Where does this all lead?  Does living mean being remembered or being influential?  Does it mean to live the most satisfying life at home or on the job?  Finally, can everyone who wants to strive for the greatest lifetime performance award, do so?

One has to be in awe sometimes when considering the sheer diversity of mankind.  Men and women come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours.  No two are exactly alike.  The same can be said for their talents, skills and abilities.  Some men and women are good at math, while others have trouble balancing their bankbooks.  There are those who have to work hard to remember their postal code, and some people who can remember their phone number from 15 years ago.  Some people are natural born speakers; while others are so shy they hesitate to ask important questions in small meetings.  It is easy to extend this argument to compare the lives of successful people with one’s own, and draw an erroneous conclusion or excuse.  One might think, “I could never see myself doing what they can do, not today nor in the future, be as successful as they are, or excel as high as they are.  They have more talent and skills than I do.  They are better educated or smarter than I am.  Success just comes naturally to them, while I have to work too hard for it.”  By thinking this way, not only is one fooling themselves, but also may be giving away their birthright or “providence”. One may have more of what it really takes to achieve lofty goals than he or she thought.  There is a common thread that runs through the lives of true achievers that wise people have been trying to impress upon others since they first learned how to scribble on cave walls.  The people who ultimately prevail do so by having determination, a will to succeed and simply by plain hard work.  They simply refuse to fail.  Sure, they occasionally stub their toes and fall, but they get back up and try again.  They figure out ways to go over, around, or through their obstacles.  In the long run, it is not education or talent or family influence. (Thomas A. Stewart)  It is the will to succeed, faith in oneself, and the persistence to keep trying.  However, with success comes the fear of loss, that is, the loss attributed to one being consumed by their work, so much so that they fail to tell the difference between themselves and their job.  (Scott Neely)

“Are we really the CEO’s of our own career?”(Any Schurr)  Or is fate keeping us from achieving our true goals?  Although one cannot answer these questions, it must be realized that they due pose a threat in one’s career.  That is, to think in such a dimension, would only put up psychoanalytical barriers in one’s forefront to success.  And in order to overcome such flagging thoughts and ways of cognition, one must convince themselves that alone, their will to succeed, can allow oneself to choose or at the least, influence their progression through life.  “Will” is a powerful driving force inherent to all, be it the will for an actress to strive for Oscar performances, a general’s will to win the war, a father’s will to act as a role model for his son, a manager’s will to gain recognition in his or her company, a cancer patient’s will to fight the disease with exhausting treatments, or even a drug addict’s will to insert a hypodermic needle of euphoric causing chemicals into his or her veins.  However, as one can already notice, the way one employs their will to achieve their desires will ultimately decide their fate.  For certainly, the cancer patient may live long enough to find a cure, the son may grow up to be as successful, if not more, than his father, the manager may finally achieve a well deserving and long waited for promotion, the actress may win her spotlight in fame during the Academy Awards when they hand her the Oscar, or perhaps the drug addict will finally meet their last injection as he or she becomes a victim of a drug overdose.  Many claim that “will power” can be highly trained and developed from early childhood.  That is, certain individuals will be encouraged to further develop their will through the successes they experienced, while others may learn to suppress their will because of misfortunes, either directly through failures of their own fault or indirectly through parental abuse that conjures fear and hesitation in a child’s perception of their own capabilities.  Therefore, resulting in a vast field of differing success levels between individuals.  For those who are use to striving for the best with a storming force of will power that has developed throughout their life, may in fact achieve the higher organizational positions they desire.  However, those that have deeply suppressed their will so that it is embedded in their lack of self-esteem, will find their successes through the overcoming of small hurdles in life, like getting their first job or learning to stand up to an abusive being.  On the other side, most may believe that “will” or “will power” is a reflection of one’s own “spirit”; the type of spirit that one uses to reflect on themselves or on others, as spiritual guidance that can be seen in mentors.

Mentor-ship has recently gained currency in the professional world, where it is thought to be a good idea to have a mentor, a wise and trusted counsellor, guiding one’s career, preferably in the upper reaches of the organization. (Randy Komisar)  Amazingly enough, in Greek, mentor means “wise counsellor” which comes from the Indo-European root that means, “to think”, a description and quality most fitting for its illustration.  A mentor can be seen in individuals who posses a set of skills for a special relationship, sometimes more honest and more intense than a marriage.  A mentor can help a lower level executive become a manager, a manager transform into a CEO, a CEO flourish into a leader, and a leader elevate as a hero.  For what is for certain, a mentor must have the will and desire to share and help, so that they may pass on insightful reflections on one’s own behaviour to someone in need, whether they have requested such assistance or not.

Unfortunately, a mentor cannot and does not have to be someone that is always available or even as a personal acquaintance.  For that reason, one must develop themselves, at least partially, as their own mentor through reflective practice. (Asaf Zohar)  That is, with the will to succeed, comes the need to better oneself by searching for new faults in their behaviour that must be improved on, time after time.  So that one does not regard a moment of success as an excuse to discard improvement in one’s physical and intellectual behaviour.  Those who achieve the careers they are in search of, whether they know of it yet or not, use their “will power” not only to strive for the leading role but to further themselves physically, intellectually and spiritually, through their experiences as their own mentor and those provided by their perceived mentor.  A strong will to succeed is seen in the best, that is, those who display exceptional performances in whatever they may do.  And that will power can be seen through their desire to further themselves in such a diversified spectrum, always open to insightful mentorship and not afraid to ask for it as help.

“Talent is faith in oneself, in one’s own powers”, said the writer Maxim Gorky.  Do all university graduates have the intellectual self-assurance to compete in the employment marketplace and to contribute to their community as concerned and committed citizens?  The answer is “no”.  Although universities can supply the technical and somewhat of a close intellectual and spiritual enrichment, the inspiration that comes from self-assurance or faith in oneself is developed more deeply in the heart and soul of an individual.  So much so, that this assurance does not entirely come directly from the individual’s triumphs but from the perceived recognition he or she achieves from others.  “Everyone’s future begins with a dream, the saddest thing that can happen in a life is to under-dream.”(Dick Enberg, Author of “Life’s Playbook For Success”)  While everyone’s dream is different, for most it is something one wants to achieve in their lives.  Going to the next step, making one’s dream a reality, means setting specific goals to help one reach it.  However, only those with the proper self-assurance can set honest and realistic goals that must be attained in order to propel oneself closer to their lifelong desires.  So that once these accurate goals are actually achieved, he or she will eat the fruits of their success, as appose to welcoming disappointment from the achievement of inappropriate goals that were not what they truly needed to progress further.  Thus, self-assurance is the first and the foremost attitude that needs to be geared up in a positive approach.  One should have a vision set to foresee the goals.  For this, the most important is faith in oneself followed by firm decision.  A wavered mind always becomes indecisive and is in confusion.  Often education systems like universities fail to realize that the students have their own mental thinking and pushing forth too much makes them indecisive, thus often graduating with exactly the opposite of what they intended to achieve, confidence!  Guided in the right direction with motivation and appreciation would build the confidence of those such as students, executives, and virtually the entire workforce.  Again, such guidance can blossom from personal and external recognition along with mentorship.  Faith can help overcome all boundaries, fly over the mountains, and where there is faith, there is trust, an inspiring revelation in all those seeking recognition through a career.  And then it is said, “experience is the best teacher”.  One who has a choice to experience, either directly or indirectly, come what may, becomes wiser with the times.  Encouragement makes a person more confident to pursue what he or she can but have the fear that he or she can’t, a vital grasp over reality, the essence for proper goal setting.  Finally, faith in oneself comes with influence of the surroundings and attitude within.  Faith in oneself is gearing ahead through praise and a clear mind, and allows one to build with love and concern followed by channels of trust. To build confidence is to boost one’s spirit with faith combined with love, trust and decisiveness and sure, one can be confident to smooth sail the rough domains of a career path.

Now, if talent is faith in oneself, does it assure success?  The answer is “not alone”.  One can directly acknowledge this from the mere fact that “nothing is more common than unsuccessful executives with talent”. (Calvin Coolidge)  Often enough, persistence and commitment are considered to be equal, fortunately they are not.  One can easily commit to something but lack the “will power” to persist long enough to achieve their desired outcome.  True persistence does require commitment, but persistence is the ability to change one’s plan, and each time that it is changed he or she believes with complete “confidence” that it will work this time. True persistence takes someone with enough “self-assurance” to accept the fact that some part of the plan may need to be changed.  Persistence is not following a path blindly hoping that it will lead one to their dreams.  One must be willing to give up all the simple pleasures that may block their path. (Randy Komisar, S. Wetlaufer—“Norman Spencer”)  Even thoughts that are wasted on unrelated things should be banished from one’s mind, as is often the case with promising managers and CEOs.  One cannot find the right path when the mind is clattered with random thoughts of the current situation.  However, some claim that they are committed to their job, spouse or whatever.  Unfortunately, to be committed without persistence can lead to insanity and stagnation.  That is, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, as is too often the case with most executives and scientists.  Thus, commitment is first-rate when one continuously persists in their commitments, again, a fundamental vitality to a triumphant career.

The result of the combined nature of these values, the will to succeed, the faith in oneself and the persistence in commitment, is the ultimate motivational drive that can only be described as a “passion”, or in a sense, an individual who is infatuated and excited with his or her aspiration to reach their goals through a career path, which is not necessarily known.  Unfortunately, many, especially those at the top, fail to properly balance their perception of what it means to “live to work” or “work to live”. (Douglas T. Hall & Judith Richter, Harold J. Leavitt, Hot Groups)  That is, those that have a taste for the top, tend to live for their jobs.  All those employed are faced with the very personal task of finding the right balance between work and family, which generally means constant juggling, reprioritizing and reflecting to try to make everything fit together.  But as the new economy heats up and jobs become ever more rewarding, let alone demanding, it can be easy to step over the line from happy at work to never at home.  Robert Reich’s “The Future of Success” says we are too insecure to stop working.  That is not to say that everyone who works long days is a workaholic.  Some people are able to log in 55-65-hour weeks for months at a time while maintaining happy, healthy personal lives. (Douglas T. Hall & Judith Richter)  In fact, the Families and Work Institute’s research shows that having a demanding job isn’t necessarily harmful to a woman’s sense of well-being or the quality of her family life. (Ellen Galinsky)  A job becomes destructive when it is more demanding than one wants it to be, when he or she no longer has control over the way they get their work done, or when office politics are burdened with conflict.  From the outside, one may ask, what possesses and initiates the chain of events that lead up to this confusion that many have between self worth as a person and self worth as an employee, otherwise known as a workaholic.  For many, the initiation begins with their first real fulltime job after having completed their education.  For if this job is challenging enough to conjure a perception of learning from assigned tasks and experiences, learning from other employees, mentors and responsibilities, learning from the burdens of conflict, learning from management and learning from leadership, then he or she will finally obtain the “psychological success” they have been yearning for since the day they left their academics. (Ronald Burke)  This “initial challenge” will further integrate the talents and skills of that individual into a passionate worker.  That is, one who continuously has the will to succeed, the faith in oneself and the persistence, will be blessed with a challenging yet promising career path, where perhaps after several years or several different jobs he or she may finally focus on a clear course. (Randy Komisar)

Referring back to the initial questions posed:  “Does it really matter?  Is it more important to care for how one would be thought of after he or she has departed this life?  Or is it more important to care for today as appose to tomorrow?  Where does this all lead?  Does living mean being remembered or being influential?  Does it mean to live the most satisfying life at home or on the job?  Finally, can everyone who wants to strive for the greatest lifetime performance award, do so?”  One can finally address a principle concept or model that foreshadows the answers to all such questions.  That is, life is a challenge from birth; in fact, this challenge propels one to persistently further themselves to survival.  However, where one sets their survival level at, depends totally on his or her goals.  For if it takes one to sacrifice all pleasures unrelated to work, then that is a notion accepted long before, by he or she, when those goals were set at such a level.  With every step forward in one’s survival, his or her faith in one shelf increases as the gap from their current position to their goals decreases.  Thus, their will to succeed is further amplified so that by the time they are near their goals or end, the initial drawing of themselves as a once futile employee has transformed into a portrait of the fittest employee to survive at their work.  That is to say, a well deserving level of success in line with one’s set level of survival or goals.  However, when one’s “end” does not align with the achievement of their goals, insanity and ultimate self destruction may occur, if he or she did not drastically accept their failure as a sign of a much needed change, a vital quality in the faith in oneself.  In perspective, one must realize that all that is done is never lost, for what one does today may have an affect on their performance tomorrow, if not their own performance than someone else’s, thus, an everlasting chain of effects resides in every individual’s participation in the evolution of tomorrow, so that “what we do today, echoes in eternity!” (believe it or not this was said by Russell Crowe as Maximus in the movie Gladiator)