Monday, October 5, 2015

So, what's your story?

We like to think that we really know our coworkers and colleagues but how much do we not know about them? Behind every success story is some type of adversity buried in the past. When we see a successful person we tend to think “Wow, he’s a lucky person” or “I wonder how she got to where she is?” The answer to these questions may often surprise you.

Many years ago I worked for a foreign man that owned 2 restaurants. He wasn’t at the level of someone like Donald Trump but he managed to do very well financially. He owned a big home that he had completely paid for in only a few short years. He had several vehicles and was able to buy his daughter pretty much whatever she wanted. When the time came for her to attend college he had the money for that too.

It seemed that life for them was better than most people are able to enjoy buy I was quite surprised to learn how it all began. First of all, he was definitely not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He (and his wife) were actually born in Israel end immigrated to this country to make a new life. Both had served in the military there (a legal requirement for all Israeli citizens) and both had seen the results of terrorist attacks within their own city.

When they came to America they started with nothing. They opened their first sub shop with very, very little money. I can remember Mike (the owner’s American name) explaining to me that in the beginning they made all of the food on a portable grill and a few consumer quality deep fryers hidden out of sight from the customers. There was no commercial quality grill or oven as you would normally see in a restaurant. In fact, it was carryout only as the shop was too small to provide seating for customers.

That is a very humble beginning indeed but hard work (and very good food) paid off in the long run. It is from there that Mike and his wife were able to build their business over time. Eventually they were able to furnish the restaurant with quality commercial grade equipment. Next, they purchased a building of their own and no longer paid rent to operate their business. Then a second building was purchased and a second restaurant was opened. They had come a long way from deep fryers sitting on a table.

Of course, if you met Mike today you wouldn’t know any of this and you might think ”Wow, I wish I had his luck” Well, maybe luck is a part of everything that we do but hard work and a belief in yourself are required as well. I can think of no better example of a person that deserves to be successful than Mike. The next time you are talking with one of your colleagues you might ask where it all began for them and tell them a little about yourself. What you hear may surprise you and you might find a deep respect for them that you never had before because everyone has a story to tell.

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