IMPETUS TO ACHIEVE: COMPANY MAKES OR BREAKS
THE road to success has got to do with ambition much as it has to do with company.
I have said it a million times before that no one, and absolutely no one in this life makes it alone. We all have people help us, knowingly and unknowingly, along the way. The role that other people play in our journey to achieve our goals must never be underestimated. There is a saying that goes something like this: if you want to move fast, move alone, but if you want to be successful, work with other people. I have also heard people say that it’s important to be careful how you treat others because the people that you meet when your star is on the rise are the same people that you will meet when you are falling. Of course depending on the attitude that you had, they may choose to catch you or leave you to fall hard.
Keeping good company is something that we are always encouraged to do. We are told to so by our parents and teachers in our early days in school. We are told by the Bible that bad company corrupts morals. We are also told to do so by our senior managers at our employers so as to avoid falling into a trap of joining syndicates of fast money through wrongdoing or unethical behavior. Company tends to mean a great deal when you want to rise in your career be it business, formal employment, clergy or otherwise. Now let me take a moment to give caution. Hanging around the correct people that can add value to your career progression is not the same thing as being a hanger on and chief bootlicker feeding off of the crumbs from your so called role model’s table. There is a serious distinction to be made here.
When you are placed in the hangers on category, you may never be taken seriously. Your desperation and hunger will be smelt from a mile away and the company that you force yourself on may never give you the opportunity that you are looking for. For instance, if you are a young and aspiring entrepreneur and you happen to find yourself in the company of some well-connected people that are doing fine, it’s very important that whenever there is a social gathering, you try very hard to hold your own. If you find yourself in a fancy restaurant or bar, do not simply tell yourself that since you are moving with so and so , then he will automatically settle your bill. As difficult as it is when you are coming up, you must fight hard to remove your little money and settle your bill. It is only when the person you are with offers to take care of things, that you can breathe a sigh of relief (in your heart) and save your ngwees. Your company will respect you more when you take such an approach.
I have also seen people misunderstand the concept of minding the company you keep. There are those people who want to get to high places and therefore they proceed to start breaking into some of these elite gatherings with a view to leveraging their position in their new company to help them achieve their goals. This is normal and is part of business. However, some stupid people begin to toss aside certain personal relationships they have had with people that they have known for the longest time perhaps because these people are not doing too well. This is foolish and exhibits a serious lack of the concept of linking up with the appropriate company to advance business interests. One of the relationships here is a business one and the other is personal. It’s never clever to throw away loyalty of personal relations spanning years because you think you have acquired new friends in business. Anybody that does this will soon find out that having the right company to advance your ambition does not make that company your personal friends.
Earlier, I talked about holding your own when you are in a certain gathering in order to continue to advance your agenda. I’d like you to consider this excerpt written by Chris Bishop – the Managing Editor of Forbes Africa magazine – in his editorial column published in the September, 2017 edition: “……. Johannesburg became too small for the ambitious BC Forbes and in 1902 he jumped on a ship for New York. He took the risk of travelling first class even though, on a journalist’s pay, he couldn’t really afford it. His idea was that you had to mix with the right people. When he arrived on Ellis Island, in New York harbor, along with the huddled masses of Europe, BC Forbes had USD 50 left in his pocket. The authorities let him in saying he was unlikely to be a burden on the state.
“BC Forbes struggled to find a job in New York, few cared about his experience in Scotland and South Africa; when he struck lucky he made the most of it. The strident, diminutive Scotsman swiftly made a name for himself as a sharp and parsimonious writer on business. ‘I don’t lend money,
I just write about it,’ he used to tell colleagues sharply if ever they doubted he was careful with his dollars. This parsimony paid off; true to his beliefs of mixing with the rich and influential, BC Forbes rented a small room that he also couldn’t afford, at the back of the Waldorf Astoria, in New York, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. It meant in the evenings he could hobnob with the most influential names in New York in the bar. He paid for his room by walking everywhere, on assignment, in New York and saving the taxi money given by his employers. It took a lot of walking to pay the hotel bill; he was no stranger to struggle.”
This is the story of Bertie Charles Forbes – the founder of the world renowned Forbes magazine. There can’t be too many stories that illustrate the value of a disadvantaged young and aspiring individual seeking the right company as that of BC Forbes. He travelled first class as a poor man seeking the right company. He rented an office that he could not afford in a high end area in order to mingle with the right company. How many of us will go to these lengths to develop ourselves? The price he paid to have an office in a high end area was walking everywhere in order to take his transport money towards rent. In the end, he built a world renowned magazine whose very essence is to celebrate ingenuity, hard work and the glamour that it ultimately brings. On 19th September, Forbes magazine turned 100 years old and people around the world are in awe of what the magazine has become. I wish the magazine a Happy belated birthday.
So there you have it dear reader, the value of company is worth more than gold because it often is the access key that takes us to the heights of achievement that we have always dreamed of. It is important to know that company can make or break you so choose your friends and professional acquaintances wisely.