(File pix) Two workers meticulously built the track at a velodrome. Having a deep-seated purpose drive makes one committed to achieving his or her targets. EPA-EFE Photo

I am writing my column this week while on a short break in my wife's village Lermoos in Austria.

It's a vacation without really being one. We have a home here filled our things, so it doesn't fully have the feel of us being on holiday. It is more like being home, away from home.

The combination of the crisp alpine air and the lack of work or business distractions also mean that I get a lot of time to reflect on life, as well as to chart plans.

The fact that I do not particularly enjoy watching television shows dubbed into the German language, allows me a lot of time to catch up on my preferred Netflix programmes.

One of my current favourites is called "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" presented by the renowned talk show host, David Letterman.

So, this past week I caught up with an episode where Letterman interviews Malala Yousafzai.

Malala is a young educational activist from the Swat Valley in Pakistan. She gained worldwide recognition after she was brutally shot by the Taliban in 2012.

She survived the attack, and continues with unabated determination as an outspoken activist for women's rights, especially through her campaign to allow girls to go to school.

As I watched engaging interview with her, I couldn't help but feel emotionally drawn to her message.

Here was a young woman who got shot at point blank range, simply because she stood up, and spoke out for a right most of us take for granted; the right to be educated.

Most striking in her dialogue with Letterman was that she felt the best revenge she could take on the perpetrators of this heinous attack on her, was to forgive them. And, to focus on her struggles for the 130 million girls around the world who do not have access to education.

I was just blown away by her purposeful attitude. The programme made me reflect on how having a deep-seated purpose drive makes her so committed to achieving her targets.

A few days later, I cooked dinner for some friends at our home in Austria.

Over the meal, the conversation veered to how some people are so dedicated, while others barely get by. My Austrian friends were giving me examples of championship skiers, and their ability to read the mountains so skilfully.

These skiers are so dedicated to what they do, that they develop an amazing ability to navigate down dangerous and off-piste trails.

As we chatted, I realized that around the dinner table, there were people who themselves were experts in their chosen fields.

My partner in a landscaping business in Austria, Roman Pirchheim has dedicated his entire adult life to horticulture. His commitment and efficacy is attested by the profitability of our business.

Then there was Charles Michaels, my friend from Malaysia who had joined us on this trip, with his wife Mei Leng. Charles is an accountant with an uncanny ability to dissect a business, almost instinctively, to advice on its viability. He’s been dedicated to his industry for more than twenty years.

Next to him at the dinner table was my mate, Chef Markus Fasser who makes regular guest appearances in my restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Markus left high school, and pursued his passion for cooking. Today, thirty years later, he is one of the most accomplished chefs in this region, and is passionately dedicated to be at the cutting edge of new culinary methods.

My wife Susanna, was at the dinner table too. She has devoted the past fifteen years of her professional life to holistic veterinary medicine. Susanna spends an inordinate amount of time, much to my chagrin, reading and researching for alternative modalities of treatment for animals.

And the others around our dinner table, Mei Leng, Cornelia Pirchheim, Charlotte Fasser, Gabi and Herbert Floh; each of them is successful in their chosen vocation. And, they are successful because of their total dedication to their craft.

Dedication is an exceedingly strong feeling of support, and loyalty, for something or someone.

While my friends around the dinner table may not have had the traumatic experience of Malala Yousafzai, all of them, in some way, exhibit similar dedication to what they believe in.

Success only comes to you, when you commit your life to something.

Through my work, I know that dedication is the most sought after attribute in an employee, for any employer. Engaged employees are what every employer wants. Feeling engaged at work is what every employee wants.

Purpose driven, dedicated employees find it hard to break away from what they do. And, this isn’t because they are workaholics or that they grind away at work, for fear of losing their jobs.

They genuinely love what they do; they are anxious to get started; and they feel energised by their work.

Listening to Malala Yousafzai, her dedication is so palpable, and her narrative so compelling. She is dedicating her life to something she believes in, so passionately.

The question is; what are you dedicated to?

Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”