“Arriving in New York to be a guest on CNN, I was told that Lou Dobbs was out sick and Valerie Morris would be interviewing me instead. She asked fascinating questions and I left the studio figuring that was that. But a week later, I had a call inviting me to have dinner with Lou and his executive team. I was heading for England so we scheduled it for the night I flew back.
Sitting together at the sushi bar in Ma’s Restaurant, I revealed one Success Skill after another as Lou beamed and nodded agreement. The energy was so electric that even though I was famished and jet-lagged, we only stopped for a nibble or two until I completed describing all ten skills. At the end of the evening, Lou asked me to appear on the show again so he could interview me himself.
After Lou’s show, we headed back to his office and he confessed smiling, “The real reason I wanted to have you on again was to confirm my decision: I want you to teach THE TECHNOLOGY of SUCCESS skills to my entire staff.” Over the next year I did just that, enjoying CNNfn’s rapid rise to the top of financial news and websites. Working with Lou’s team was yet another high-profile validation of the power of the 10 Success Skills I had discovered.
I began my career as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. After a year and numerous sleepless nights rehearsing what I wanted to say, I finally stood up in one of our prestigious weekly conferences. “What more could we learn if, instead of only ill and dysfunctional people, we started studying healthy, highly-successful people as well? Are they using skills the rest of us are missing, or misusing? If so, what are those skills and how can we teach them?”
But instead of being excited, my colleagues all laughed. Red-faced—yet sure I was on to something BIG—I silently vowed to spend the rest of my life doing just that. And I have. That humiliating NIH moment was the seed of my future. Looking back I could describe my route from there to here as a straight line, however it seldom felt straight as I was walking it. But my path, full of roadblocks and detours, would turn out to be startlingly similar to those described by Highly Successful People (HSPs) I would study over the next two decades.
PS. In 2006, I was invited to speak at the National Grant Management Association in Washington, D.C. and I told them this story. Afterward a crowd of smiling participants headed straight for me. “We are the NIH people who currently decide on grants,” they said. “We think studying HSPs is a brilliant idea and only wish we’d been there that day so we could have all shouted together, Yes, Susan, Yes!”
Visit Susan Ford Collins for more information.