By Chuck Lauer
It's called the American dream: what has made this country so great is the philosophy that if you are willing to work and sacrifice, no matter your background, you will have the opportunity to succeed.
That's because there are opportunities everywhere for those who have the gumption to go forward and take chances, knowing full well that if they don't succeed the first time, there will be other opportunities for them to do so later.
There is no guarantee that any of us will succeed unless we are willing to pay a price and that price may be our financial security, by giving up our homes and bank accounts to start a new business. No, my friend, life is definitely not fair! Some people succeed while others flounder, but that doesn't deter many individuals from trying numerous times to catch the "pot of gold."
It's called the American dream and a good number of people I know and associate with are big believers in the American dream. I have seen them go forward and turn the world on its head, overcoming odds and succeeding with their business. The great English poet Robert Browning probably said it best when he wrote,"A man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?"
I don't think there is any greater reward than building a business that succeeds and not only makes money, but provides jobs for others. And I do not believe that anything or any business succeeds unless there is a leader who has a vision of what he or she wants to accomplish and then goes out and does it.
It is definitely not easy, but unless a business has a leader with great courage and drive, nothing happens. Any enterprise needs someone who sees the future and is absolutely captivated by the idea of that business becoming a profitable enterprise. These are the people who are the backbone of American business and are willing to pay the price for success.
President Teddy Roosevelt wrote that, "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
That philosophy is as American as apple pie and unless you have been on the field of play by yourself and fully exposed, it's hard to imagine what it is like to be in that position.
Back in 1976, I was presented with the opportunity of taking a publication called Modern Healthcare and making it a success in the healthcare market. The magazine had formerly been one of the publications of the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, but in the early seventies they had become somewhat disenchanted with the publication and looked for a new owner. That new owner became Crain Communications, Inc. and shortly before Modern Healthcare became a Crain publication, I was asked by Mr. Rance Crain to become the publisher of the magazine.
For the next 31 years, I had the honor and pleasure of doing so, and it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Rance and Keith Crain, the owners of Crain, were terrific people to work for and as the magazine enjoyed success and profitability, I was able to add talented staff to make the magazine even more successful. But, of course, the people I remember the most are the individuals I worked with in the early years who stayed with the magazine when times were tough and budgets tight. We were all so caught up in making the magazine successful, we worked long hours and made many personal sacrifices in our quest for success and excellence. So when people say to me that I was alone responsible for the success of Modern Healthcare, I always talk about the people who supported me in making the magazine the success it is today.
But no business becomes successful unless there is someone at the helm leading it who has the courage and determination to make it succeed. I can give you all kinds of examples of individuals who, through sheer will and determination, made a business successful.
They are the people who dream their dreams and make them happen.That's what America is all about and that's why people still break down barriers to come here. They want to be part of the American dream. They want to be part of something that is so special that it gives everybody, no matter their background or their origin, an opportunity to succeed. I read all the time that the American dream is fading and that opportunity no longer exists for the average American.
I think that is a bunch of baloney! Look all around you at the people who are still striving for the American dream. They don't sit around and wait for someone or somebody to give them a handout. They work hard for their success and they don't feel sorry for themselves. After all, we still live in the greatest country in the world where you can still be anybody you want to be if you have the intestinal fortitude to try, and you let a positive attitude set your altitude with your business and personal life.