Garrison Wynn
Speaker, Consultant, Author

Garrison Wynn

Founder of Wynn Solutions, this keynote speaker is a former stand-up comedian and author of "The Real Truth About Success


Often, it's all relative

Q: Rep. Patrick Kennedy says he won't run for re-election, raising the possibility that his family's political dynasty has come to an end. To what degree do family connections and famous names fuel success? By giving up his political power and status as keeper of the Kennedy legacy, is Patrick Kennedy letting down his family and followers?

Family connections are a huge part of success.

If it were not for Bill Gates' mother's relationship with the president of IBM, we would all be using Macs at work (and most likely getting more done). If Teddy Roosevelt had not been president, FDR would have been just another fledgling New York aristocrat with a dominant mother and a funny-looking wife!

People have often wondered how the quirky and not terribly handsome Nicolas Cage became famous so quickly. His real last name is Coppola, as in Francis Ford "The Godfather" Coppola (Cage's uncle). Also, Cage's girlfriend introduced him to a starving young actor named Johnny Depp, who pursued acting after Cage urged him to. The people you know and the people you're related to are a much larger part of success than we sometimes want to acknowledge.

The real Kennedy story is a very good study in high-profile nepotism on steroids. Let's recap Camelot without the BS: Dad, the politically ambitious bootlegger, marries up and has a few sons in hopes that they could do in politics what he could not.

He grooms the outgoing, handsome one for a shot at the White House, but that son gets killed in World War II trying to be a hero, so instead his sickly little brother is said to be a hero (the PT boat story has as many holes in it as the boat itself supposedly did) and goes into politics. He gets his younger brother to come to work for him, they date the same movie star, both brothers get assassinated, and then cocktail-challenged Teddy becomes the defacto patriarch.

More recently we have learned that it's a lot easier to be president if your daddy held the job. You have all the connections and you apparently don't even have to be that good at it!

So it's easy to see that success and famous connections very often are literally all relative. Patrick is doing what he wants, and I think that makes more sense than just doing what people think you are supposed to do. And, in all honesty, most of us don't equate "dynasty" with "Kennedy." When we hear the word "dynasty," we think of great sports teams, Chinese art, and that lame '80s TV show with Joan Collins.

By Garrison Wynn  |  February 18, 2010; 7:12 PM ET  | Category:  Sustaining success , successful connections Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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