The role of luck in success

As a business owner, you tend to hear a lot of stories about better business, tips and tricks of the trade, and lessons about management. Out of all of them, though, there’s one story that has stuck with me through the years. It’s a story that taught me to enjoy every aspect of business, and that every day brings new opportunities to learn and excel. Here is the story:

Two men, Bill and Frank, begin working at a hotel the same day. They are both intelligent, educated and with aspirations. The manager of the hotel greets them both and hands them both doormen outfits. They are to begin working on the door of the hotel opening and closing the doors, helping with bags, flagging taxis, etc.

Bill thinks “Doorman? I am worth more than this! I could manage this hotel better than the current guy.” He doesn’t have an alternative offer and he needs the money, so he does the job anyway. He maintains a pained grimace on his face, and deals with customers and other staff in a negative way because he is “better than this.”

Frank, in contrast, thinks “Okay, doorman. It’s not what I had in mind, but hey, I get to spend some time outside, get to meet the customers, and I’ll learn about how this hotel works.” He sets to work with a smile on his face and finds that he quite enjoys the varying small challenges that he faces as a doorman at such a prestigious hotel.

After six weeks, a position at the front desk opens up, and the hotel manager immediately thinks of Frank. Frank is promoted and immediately brings his positive attitude to the front desk of the hotel. Several years later, Frank is the hotel manager. He leaves late one evening and there, opening the door with a hard-wired grimace, is Bill.

Is it luck, or is it fate? Bill will spend forever in a job that he hates and Frank will love every job that he is given. This story is such an inspiration, because it encourages me to always stay positive about my responsibilities and to find the reward in every remedial task. When hiring staff I spend more time exploring attitude and self motivation than I do exploring capabilities. I spend time looking to direct my employees towards challenges that are motivating for them. When it comes to running a business, I’ve learned it’s not just about the results, but the work you put in. That’s where successful people thrive.

One comment

  1. […] stories – the best way to begin to remember them (Doorman, Cathedral, Tracks in the Sand, Cemetery of Youth, Geronimo the Apache and […]

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