Integrity Matters
May 9 , 2007

Be ready when opportunity knocks

Question: (E-292)

What leads certain individuals to be especially successful?


Preparedness, opportunity and hard work are a winning combination. Only opportunity lies outside one's control. However, when factored into the equation, those who are ready and willing to do whatever it takes frequently capitalize on seemingly-random circumstances. One individual who has leveraged these elements effectively is Basil E. Mills, a Salinas entrepreneur, agribusiness leader and humanitarian.

Mills improves the communities in which he lives and has, for me, provided two gifts to be forever treasured - enthusiasm and tenacity. Approximately six years ago, he and I began discussing the most important legacy to be given to family; and, without hesitation he mentioned values and reputation. From that conversation, he and another agribusiness leader, Bill Ramsey, helped to facilitate conversations with 15 successful colleagues that would become Chapter 12 of our first book, Integrity Matters. Chapter 12 was a case study in how integrity was the keystone for the phenomenally-successful agribusiness enterprises of California's Salinas Valley.

Many stories abound of hard working individuals, with dreams, who worked steadily toward the achievement of their goals. Books, business magazines and the media delight in reporting stories of those who have successfully combined ideas with capital to create solutions to problems, helping others as they found rewards for themselves - whether intellectual, emotional and economic - or all three.

Success comes in "cans" and not in "cannots" - and is often bestowed upon those who create environments that encourage others to be and become the very best they can.

Here is how it happens; succinctly presented in our company's theme song:

  1. Run like a thoroughbred (use every ounce of strength with each effort)
  2. Fly like an eagle (accept the loneliness of leadership; risking high aspiration)
  3. Be the best you can be (legitimate self-set standards demand excellence)
  4. Open yourself to other dimensions (encourage feedback and pay attention to it)
  5. A whole new world you will see (listening creates opportunities for growth)
  6. Design your own future (assess capacity honestly, building an achievable plan)
  7. Hold fast to a vision (focus on destination, willingly paying the price along the way)
  8. Dream the ultimate dream (grand plans are the prerogative of all who are free)
  9. Make the commitment (singular dedication builds winners, in sports and in life)
  10. A plan for your life, and, (discipline is the glue that holds individuals accountable)
  11. Hold it in highest esteem (respect, for self and others, is key in goal achievement)

Mills, my mentor, reminds those who know him that enthusiasm and tenacity are a winning combination.

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