Sindy’s Story

Success is not measured by what you achieve, but by what you overcome to achieve it.

Yesterday this truth was brought home in a powerful way. I have the privilege to mentor a emerging entrepreneur form a disadvantaged community. We had a talk yesterday and I want to share her success story.

She grew up in a rural settlement of about 300 people. Her parents past away when she was 18. She had a child at 16, so she dropped out of school. Started her own business as a hairdresser. Pays for her younger sisters tertiary education as well as for her own two boys primary education. She is married to a man that only visits once a month and then either verbally abuse her or spends the weekend with his friends. Yet she manages to save R150.00 per month for each of her boys future education.

In her community she faces a culture where woman are not really seen as equals. She survived a burglary and competes with other small businesses in a closed and poor market. Yet she looks after herself and goes to the gym on a regular basis.

She still wants to develop her business and open a second salon in a mall. But as with a lot of these entrepreneurs, the actual development is hampered by their environment.

I tell you this story to invite you to step out of the small world that we who are privileged tend to create around ourselves.

I hope that you remember Sindy the next time you want to complain about the increase of petrol or your boss that does not want to understand your reasons for taking leave.

I hope she inspires you to actually start saving for your dream and not just to swipe you card. I hope she inspires you to see every obstacle in your path as another stepping stone too you personal success.

With respect.


Success is…

“Success is not the key to happiness.
Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing,
you will be successful.”
– Albert Schweitzer

One rainy night many years ago, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the storm, the couple reached the front desk hoping to get some shelter for the night.

“Could you possibly give us a room here?” the husband asked. The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile, looked at the couple and explained that there were three conventions in town. “All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But I can’t send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.” When the couple declined, the young man pressed on. “Don’t worry about me; I’ll make out just fine,” the clerk told them. So the couple agreed.

As he paid his bill the next morning, the elderly man said to the clerk, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.” The clerk looked at them and smiled. The three of them had a good laugh. As they drove away, the elderly couple agreed that the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional, as finding people who are both friendly and helpful isn’t easy.

Two years passed. The clerk had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter from the old man. It recalled that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit.

The old man met him in New York, and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He then pointed to a great new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky. “That,” said the older man, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” “You must be joking,” the young man said. “I can assure you I am not,” said the older man, a sly smile playing around his mouth.

The older man’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The young clerk who became its first manager was George C. Boldt. This young clerk never foresaw the turn of events that would lead him to become the manager of one of the world’s most glamorous hotels. We are not to turn our backs on those who are in need, for we might be entertaining Angels.