The Royal Flower of Success

The Royal Flower of Success

“There is no royal flower strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights.”~ Madam C. Walker

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When Sarah Breedlove was little, her parents probably took her to the banks of the Mississippi and pointed to Vicksburg. She was the first of her family to be born a free woman, and her parents likely told her of General Grant taking the Confederate’s last Mississippi River stronghold, four years before Sarah’s birth. Those stories would end when Sarah’s folks were taken by cholera when she was seven. It was then of to Vicksburg where Sarah worked as a housekeeper. One might think prospects were slim for Sarah. But by the time of her death, Sarah was the wealthiest African American woman in the country with a net worth of eight million in today’s dollars.

“I got my start by giving myself a start,” Sarah was fond of saying. Plagued with hair loss that likely stemmed from malnutrition and the harsh realities of the Reconstruction, Sarah created a line of hair care products designed for African American women. Years before Mary Kay Ash was born, Sarah trained independent “beauty culturists” to demonstrate and sell her products. Thousands of African-American women had the opportunity to participate in an entrepreneurial venture. Sarah’s culturists didn’t know her by that name, to them she was Madam C. J. Walker. Madam was an honorific used by women in the French beauty industry, and C. J. Walker was her husband’s name. On top of that, the name gave her product line a mystique nothing else on the market contained.

Madam C. J. Walker understood that cultivating her royal flower of success meant more than tending her own garden. She used her fame and fortune to advocate African American rights and liberally donated to institutions and charities. She understood that the greater our success, the greater our responsibility to others. Upon her death, two-thirds of Madam Walker’s estate went to organizations that improved the lives of others. Her legacy endures as the rags to riches dream of countless Americans, but more importantly, her legacy provided hope and aid to those who needed it the most.

Consider this …

1. Brief y describe where your own path to success has been a bit rocky.

2. What actions did you take to successfully traverse that rocky path?

3. What lessons do you have tucked away from that prior experience that might be useful to you in the future?

For more, check out The Top Performer’s Field Guide, The Innovator’s Field Guide, or visit www.JeffStandridge.com.

(Originally published in The Top Performer’s Field Guide.)

 

 

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