FOR the longest time, my wife affectionately called me a bumble-bee. I thought that as a non-native English speaker, she coined this term because for her I was “a large hairy social bee who flew around with a loud hum”.
One day, I really felt compelled to ask her why she chose to use this particular moniker to refer to me.
In her Austrian matter-of-fact way, she replied that as a veterinarian she was always noticing nature and animals. And, my behaviour was totally relatable to a bumble-bee. Even when this bee bumped into a glass window, it would simply pick itself up, get re-oriented and buzz-off quite undeterred by this temporary setback.
I was really tickled by this, and I decided that if I was ever asked what superhero I’d like to be, I would quite naturally opt to be “Bee-Man”.
This funny exchange with Susanna made me think about the truth behind her uncanny observation.
In my nearly 20-year experience as a management consultant, leadership coach and trainer; every accomplished executive, business owner, and entrepreneur that I have met, exhibits this same trait.
They are all purposefully single-minded. They have a resolute strength of mind, and pursue their purpose with dogged determination.
It’s ironic that my wife thinks this way about me, because I feel that she exemplifies single-mindedness. She qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London.
But years ago, as a teenager, when she first broached the subject of wanting to become a doctor, she was firmly rebuked by her old-school family in Austria.
When she declared her intention, she was told to opt for a career path more “suited to a girl”.
Her uncle Herman, the patriarch of the family, asked her to focus on becoming a nurse, instead.
This chauvinistic sentiment made Susanna even more bullish and she resolved that she must succeed. Having endured many financial and emotional hardships, she rose to qualify as a veterinary doctor.
After practicing veterinary medicine for about 10 years, she then decided to chart a different path. Driven by her love for animals, and her view that they needed better solutions, she decided to venture away from conventional veterinary medicine into holistic and alternative remedies.
At the time when we met, my wife had just begun to study again. Even after realising her ambition of becoming a doctor, she continued to better herself.
Currently, she is the only International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) certified veterinarian in Malaysia. She accomplished this only through her single-mindedness.
Another phenomenal example of someone driven by purpose is the world renowned celebrity chef, David Rocco.
He is the best-selling author, and host of internationally syndicated television series, including the legendary David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.
I have witnessed first-hand this past week, his commitment to getting the results he aims for.
David is currently in Malaysia to film his new television show, David Rocco’s Dolce Southeast Asia. He arrived in Malaysia with his exuberant producer Emanuela Pirelli, and his close-knit crew of talented film makers.
I have no doubt that this new series will be a global hit, showcasing some of Malaysia’s most interesting stories, people, and food.
While every effort was made before his arrival in Malaysia to source the appropriate locations, events, and guests for this show; so much of the success of this production rests on his shoulder, with his tireless effort to make things work.
He has no airs about him. He does not act like some celebrities who feel the need to exert their “stardom”. David just focuses on the job at hand, treats people with warmth and respect, and allows his irrepressible charm to flow through.
Every setback is managed with poise, and equilibrium. Every interesting idea is given a fair hearing, and every fan is embraced affectionately.
And all this coming from someone who has his television shows airing in over 150 countries worldwide, including the Food Network, BBC Food, Discovery Travel, Nat Geo, and Fox Life.
When often we hear sensational stories about infantile behaviour by celebrities who visit our country, here is someone who stands head and shoulders above the rest.
David Rocco the convivial TV guy is really the authentic deal in real-life, too.
Why? Well quite simply because he is purpose-driven.
Sometime ago he told me that there were two things he knew without a doubt; that he loves people, and he loves food. I can attest to the fact that his statement was not some public relations puff, which he just spewed out.
His purpose has always been about touching lives, and inspiring people to find purpose through food.
When you lead a life filled with purpose, you will find that your attitude towards everything becomes focused.
Are you resolute in the pursuit of the results you want in life, like my wife Susanna Santhiram-Hofherr, and my dear friend, David Rocco?
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?”