Helping and inspiring others
Q: How do you define success?
When I think of success, I first
think of those who rose from rags to riches by diligent work and business
acumen. One local example of a self-made
success is Washingtonian Jim Kimsey. A
decorated veteran of Vietnam, he returned home wondering how he would earn a living. He began his career by opening several
successful watering holes in the Washington
area and, later, started America Online -- creating considerable wealth for
himself and those who took the risk to invest with him. Yet, he had another
obligation: he started an orphanage in Vietnam. Even when he was struggling, he continued to
give enough money to take care of the children who were orphaned by the
madness of war.
There's also Red McCombs, an
amazing man who lives in San Antonio. He was attending college in Austin, but needed to earn a living, so he started
a car dealership. Turns out, he just has a knack for business: He ended up
owning the Minnesota Vikings and other enterprises. He thinks nothing of giving away vast sums of
money to help others.
I think that success is not just
measured by how we acquire money, but also by how we give it away -- and how we
give of ourselves in the process.
Those in the clergy inspire us
all. That is their job, actually. Arnold Resnicoff is particularly inspiring to
me. He was a Navy officer in Vietnam
when a Christian chaplain talked to him about the importance of exploring his
faith. He became a rabbi as a result, and
has devoted his life not only to his fellow Jews, but also to interfaith issues
and to assisting those in the armed forces.
Those who give back to their
fellow man also inspire others to do the same. This act of not just helping others, but inspiring others, is to me what defines profound success.
November 2, 2009; 2:52 PM ET
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