Russ Ramsey
Investment manager

Russ Ramsey

Founder, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management; also chairman of the George Washington University board of trustees.

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Climb your own mountain

Q: Is the success of a sibling a blessing or a curse? Last week Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo acknowledged that it hasn't been easy to be the half brother of President Barack Obama. How difficult is it to live with the success of a brother or a sister, even if they aren't famous?

I believe success -- which, of course, is determined by one's individual belief system -- is a direct function of expectations. Because much of humanity is unclear about these outcomes, it is enormously difficult being the younger or older sibling.

But, what does "shadow of success" really mean? If it means being measured by the same metrics as a very successful brother or sister, I believe history would suggest it is a major curse.

How many of us know a son/daughter of a powerful business person, or younger brother/sister of the All-American athlete, or multiple sibling rivalry that breaks down because of the question: "Are you going to . . . ?" or "You are just like . . ." 'I expect you to . . ." Most people live their lives climbing someone else's mountain.

However, mentoring and leadership start with everyone -- young, old and in-between -- every human being is both a leader and a mentor to someone. Recognizing that and embracing the responsibility over time will allow the responsibility of both mentor and mentee to enhance society and allow success of all people and encourage success -- individually defined. This leads to many more victories than "perceived defeats."

But, I am lucky. I have only one sibling -- a brother who was 16 when I came onto this Earth, who is one of the biggest blessings anyone could ask for and an amazing mentor and success. Maybe I can persuade him to write a book.

By Russ Ramsey  |  November 9, 2009; 1:42 PM ET  | Category:  shadow of success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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