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How do you spell ... S-U-C-C-E-S-S?

Updated: Feb 15

Times are crazy. Not only do we have technology moving at rapid speeds and globalization changing how we work, we are still in the grips of a pandemic making it difficult to simply keep our heads above water. How do we navigate this? How do we know we will still be standing when this crisis finally passes?


I’m reminded of a magazine news show I watched many years ago. It featured three billionaires talking about their careers. What I found most astounding is that they all said the same thing: What drove them wasn't the money they would earn by following a path they set. What drove them was the desire to do something different, and to be the first to do it. If their innovative enterprise simply earned a very comfortable salary, they would have still followed that path. However, because they were driven and they were the first, they reaped far more rewards than they had planned or anticipated. That got me thinking about what were the qualities they all had in common. More importantly, are there people in our Lexington orbit who have these qualities?


My examination identified three assets which stand out. I tested my conclusions with someone who has customers who are considered successful. He serves players in major league sports, prominent business leaders, and C-level executives on a daily basis. I asked, "Can you name one of your customers who does not have one of these qualities?" His response, "Nope." So here it is. My unscientific research. Do you find yourself in here?


The Trailblazer: A trailblazer wants to turn his/her industry upside down. They have come up with something new - a new business model, a new distribution channel, a new way to find and convert prospects, whatever it may be. Armed with this exciting feature that will help colleagues and/or the public do more with less effort, they enthusiastically go into the marketplace, speaking to whoever will listen, publishing articles and books, putting their actual business in second place to this mission they are on. This "trailblazing" gains them exposure and eventually contributes to the bottom line, but even if it never did they would still go on this wild journey anyway. A recent example locally is Dave Tasto from Assisting Hands - Boston Northwest. He's recently made a career change from engineering to healthcare. He purchased a franchise, one he believes is an ideal solution for families in need of high quality home health care. More importantly, he published a book and is on the speaking circuit educating people about home health care, what it can do, and how to make changes at home to fend off needing it. In his words, if he can help just one person with the knowledge he's provided in his writing and lectures then he is satisfied. Here is the irony -- if he succeeds at educating people to prevent needing home healthcare, then his business doesn't make money ... but he does it anyway.


The Impassioned: To be in this category, this person lives, eats, drinks, breathes their "thing". It is their hobby, their profession, something on which they have been published and have likely been asked to teach others how to do. It is so completely ingrained in who they are, that it defines them. Without their profession, it's impossible to define this person. Let's look at local legend, and former Brookline resident, Tom Brady. Sure, he is a Trailblazer with TB12's approach to pliability, and he's a hard worker, (any past or present teammates will back that up in a heartbeat), but first and foremost he is passionate about football to the point that you cannot define him without it. He's driven not by money (evident by the many contracts he signed with the Patriots to be paid far less than other quarterbacks with lower stats), but by sheer passion.


The Hard Worker: This person might be a trailblazer sometimes, or impassioned sometimes, or possibly neither. What specifically and distinctly sets them apart from others is how hard they work, how many hours they put in each day and each week, and how with true grit, determination and tenacity they rise above. In Lexington, if I had to give an example of that, it's Stephanie Volpicelli of Stephanie Louis Salon. She's at work by 10am (earlier if necessary) and on her feet most of the day until she leaves about 8pm. As she is booked at least 2-4 weeks out, when a client cancels her appointment, Stephanie either gets a decent lunch break or calls a customer on the wait list. Guess what happens when she comes home after a ten-hour day? She works on payroll, (PPP when it was offered) and marketing initiatives, usually after spending quality time with her family. Simply said, she's a hard worker, and she's always smiling!


The Trifecta or Hat Trick (for those of you who are sports enthusiasts): Here, we find all three. This person is blazing a trail for something he/she is very passionate about, and in doing so is working very hard. Tom Brady falls into this category. The billionaires interviewed - Oprah Winfrey, Carlos Slim, and Bill Gates - also fall into this category. The question is, do we have a local person who meets this? Yes, we do. We have many. Lexington is a leader in many national and international initiatives in biotech, healthcare, security and more, but often they want to fly "under the radar", so I can’t name them. Lately I’ve been doing some exciting work for Craft Food Halls, a hospitality company in the dining category. If you have met Gardy Desrouleaux, you know he is a trailblazer (launching a completely different restaurant/franchise model), passionate about his industry and company (see NESN’s Dining Playbook video), and hardworking (he’s up at 4am and often gets home after 7pm). It would be great to see where his business goes in the years to come. We will circle back to that one day.


In the meantime …


Where do you fall on this list? Find it and know that is your beacon to success. Capitalize on that and it will serve you well through the rest of 2021.

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