How Did I Get Here?

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XX, Number 46 (Issue 998) November 14, 2022

How’s This for a Challenge?

No, my question is not that of someone who consumed a little too much holiday cheer and awoke in unfamiliar surroundings. Rather, I want us to spend a little time reflecting on the twists and turns in our individual journeys that in cumulative and successive fashion have brought each of us to our present state.

To prepare us for our personal retrospectives you should know there is a body of research suggesting about twenty percent of our career success is the result of our native intelligence (I.Q.). In other words, it is the gray matter between our ears that gets us in the door at the first stop along the way. After that, our ability to climb ever higher on organizational ladders is heavily influenced by the degree of emotional intelligence (E.Q.) we possess and how effectively we apply it. There are, of course, other key factors that come into play, especially in our formative years that contribute to (or hinder) our success including things like family affluence, opportunities for socialization, the quality of our education, and our temperament. To this we can add a measure of dumb luck, our innate gifts and talents, the opportunity to apply them, and personal ambition.

The next step in this exercise is to locate a photo of yourself from the earliest days of your career. As you study it, do not think about how you have aged. Rather, think about what you knew and understood then compared to what you know, understand, and believe now. Also, think about the friends who have come and gone and the bosses you have had – both the good and the not so good. What was their influence on you? What about mentors? Were you fortunate enough to have a mentor or two? Did you make any commitments to yourself? To others? Were there personal sacrifices you chose to make? How many mistakes did you make and what lessons did you take away from those questionable decisions? What, if any, regrets do you have? Conversely, what are your personal points of pride?

One reason I asked you to take this journey is we are days away from Thanksgiving. During this season it is important for us to acknowledge the blessings we have received as well as their source. To the extent others have had a positive impact on you and your journey, how might you pay it forward? Finally, is there anything you can do to ensure those who are only now beginning their journey will benefit from the same sort of help and opportunities you received?

Personally, I know there is more I can, should, and am capable of doing. Recognizing that, the only question left to answer is am I committed to making it

so? Since others were there for me, it is only right I extend a helping hand to those coming after me. What about you?

PS. Many thanks to Keith Donahoe of Austin, TX for the conversation that gave rise to today’s message.

Soli Deo Gloria

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27

J. Keith Hughey

Mobile: (210)260-0955
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Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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