Ladder of AchievementAuthor: Byron Pulsifer, ©2011
There are many people in the world who have succeeded in climbing the ladder of achievement. Some of these people have persevered throughout their career having met what appeared insurmountable obstacles yet overcame these challenges to keep moving forward.
In one situation similar to surmounting obstacles, was a woman I know who had a high school education and started in a company at the bottom of the totem pole. She was a hard worker and didn't want to always be kept at the bottom. She wanted more. This is her story.
Rather than just call her a woman I know and to protect her identity, let me give her a fictitious name - I'll call her Sally.
I will give you the end of the story first so as not to keep you wondering what eventually happened to Sally. In her final days in this company, she became a well respected executive dedicated to always going that extra mile and then some, true to her values of helping any one who wanted to learn more do so, and assisting anyone who wanted to achieve more in their life if they were willing to work hard. She rose from the bottom to the level she only once dreamed about. How did she do it?
Sally had a burning desire to succeed, to learn, to rise above petty jealousies, or office politics. She decided early on that her high school education wasn't going to be enough to help propel her to where she wanted to be so she took night courses while at the same time raising a family. Although it took her nine years to complete her advanced designation, she never lost sight of her end goal; a goal that wasn't easy for her with all her other responsibilities and demands.
As she started to be recognized as a doer, as someone who got the job done despite obstacles or issues, she was offered a promotion. But, this promotion meant she had to uproot her family and move over one thousand miles to a new city where she didn't know a soul. But, she did it knowing that achievement isn't always an easy road, nor a road traveled without sacrifice, and requiring a decision to move out of her comfort zone.
Then, Sally met another obstacle or challenge. She was required to report to another individual who had no experience in her field but was brought into the position because she had a university education. So, what did Sally do? Did she give up; did she refuse to help her new boss learn the job; did she ask for a transfer to another unit; or, did she just up and quit?
No, instead she went out of her way to help her new boss learn the business. Her decision paid off in the end because she was promoted to another area that required a leader, a person who could change an operating unit and make it more profitable. Her diligence, her dedication and her persistence started to be more and more recognized as senior executives watched her progress closely. Sally was able to not only turn a sizeable profit but was able to do so by earning her employees loyalty and dedication.
After her latest assignment, Sally saw one challenging position after another being sent her way. Each new assignment meant more and more diligence and long hours. There was risk in every position; there were staff issues, work performance issues, politics, and profit issues to deal with. It didn't matter to Sally how hard the job was, or how many obstacles or issues, or how much effort it took - she persevered, progressed and moved forward on her ladder of achievement.
So, after over twenty years of dedicated service, where is Sally today? Sally chose to leave the company where she had started at the bottom and rise to the top because she was ready for a new challenge; she was ready for a new ladder of achievement. And, for those who know her even now will recognize that burning desire to succeed in her own business where obstacles and challenges are still the order of the day, but where these challenges are overshadowed by success.
Sally demonstrates some sound principles on the ladder of achievement that all of us should remember. You can wish all you want to achieve but wishing does not accomplish anything. Persistence, a clear focus, the willingness to take risks, the undying quest to learn, the unselfishness attitude to help others succeed, the willingness to work hard and then some, and the ability to keep going no matter what is thrown your way. The road to achievement means the ability to climb mountains, to pass over potholes along the way, and a relentless belief in yourself that you can do it.
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