By Chick Pritchard

I am absolutely convinced, through many years of living, that success is the result of hard work and luck. Einstein pointed to the same reality when he suggested that perspiration had almost as much to do with his success as inspiration. Failure in my own experience has been the result of a lack of focus, a lack of knowledge, or a lack of real dedication. Real leadership requires real effort. Real success requires total focus on the goal. The proof is in the pudding.


Although I have often been a leader, I have seldom found leadership an easy experience. I have found, in my own life, whether this is personal or professional, that when I surround myself with successful people, I feel much more successful, even in the middle of an effort that has not been completed. I deeply believe that our decisions define us, and that success is all about choice. The time to be is now…this very moment. Success is not about a moment ago or a moment from now. It is about this very moment being the best I can be. I love the whole concept of not looking into the rear view mirror of our lives. Authentic leaders dedicate themselves totally to the present, realizing always that the time is now – again, so much easier said than done, at least for me.


I found the reality of inspiration to be central to my own idea of motivation. The word “inspire” comes from the Latin word “respirant,” which means to “breathe in.” I think that real success demands that our goals be a part of our core and a part of our heart, and that we literally breathe leadership and authenticity and effort, because, without this reality, a leader becomes a lonely shout master, with no one following…really not a leader at all, but merely an empty definition. The ability to look inward, upward, and outward is a central skill to a true leader. It is both frightening and exhilarating, but this gaze must be done. It is not easy. Nothing about succeeding really is. Winners act. Those who lose make excuses!

So much of our work lives and our personal lives are impacted by our feelings. The core reality is that no goal or effort can ever succeed without the constant decision to be positive and optimistic. This is a conscious decision, often made in the face of overwhelming contradiction, when feelings may not be positive. My words are my prophecy. I will act to succeed. I speak success. I breathe success. When I speak of failing, I fail. When I whisper success, I become that success, even in the darkness of negative feelings and doubt. Once again, goals require focus, dedication, and effort. Success is not a gift. It is a very rational choice and decision.


No matter what I do, as a professional or in my personal life, every word, every gesture, and every thought has an implication. As a poet many years ago said, “No man is an island entirely unto himself.” Self knowledge is critical to success, but knowledge of others is, too. To be successful, I must decide to really appreciate others, to know them, and to understand their differences from me. We all have our own unique success DNA. The individual, who is able and wants to understand what motivates others at the same time, gains a deeper understanding of his own motives. I have known fear deeply and failure also. I have also experienced success and pride of accomplishment. The ultimate reality is that no one ever succeeds alone. I deeply believe that a true leader not only thinks outward. I believe he reaches outward. Judgment should be about actions, not persons. Success is not about putting down. It is about lifting up. It is not about building walls but bridges. This starts with me, affirming myself, and all that I am, and then whispering “Yes” to those around me.