Faith as the Backbone
While Faith is usually linked to a religious context, if you look for it in the dictionary one of its definitions is: "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". I don't think is a coincidence that successful entrepreneurs had that complete trust and conviction that things were going to eventually turn out the way they expected. Vision, Conviction, Trust, Faith, I think they are all definitely in the same family and lead you to similar results.
Since I am a person of faith, both in the religious sense of the word, but also in the way it is defined above, I want to share one of those stories that are hard to share and from which I drew several important life lessons that still help me every day.
I am Catholic and very devout of the Virgin Mary. Many, many years ago (20 to be exact!) I was in Costa Rica for a business meeting with my boss (who also happens to be my father). After a very successful first day of meetings, I decided to tell my dad and our Jewish Business Partner that I wanted to check something out and that I would meet them back at the hotel. They both pressed me to know where I wanted to go. After hesitating for a while, I decided to spill the beans.
'For I while I have been hearing that there are apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the town of San Isidro de Grecia and I want to go check it out" I said. - Mind you, I had no address or exact location, just the town where it was said to be happening, but I figured that such an event must have been known in a little town.
While I'm sure that describing the look on the faces of both men will provide you with a good laugh, I will spare those details. While my parents raised me religious, let's say that my dad has not at all been the practicing type, so my request really took him off-guard.
"That's a two-hour drive from here!" our partner said, to then proceed to unsuccessfully try to talk me out of it. "Well, you know what is a beautiful drive anyway, I'll drive you", he said realizing I wasn't going to change my mind". (Lesson#1: Even if you don't believe in something, doesn't mean that you can't support others than do).
The drive was beautiful indeed. As we were getting closer, we started stopping along the road to ask (the policeman, the fruit vendor, etc) about the apparitions. My heart sank a bit more every time I had to report back to my "driver and bodyguard" that no one had heard anything about it. At that point, I really started to understand how crazy my intention was. (Lesson#2: There will be a lot of naysayers along the road, that doesn't mean that you can't keep going).
As we got into the small town and as he parked next to the main church, our partner said: "Well, if they haven't heard about it here I think we can head back". The mass had just ended and people were gathered outside. I decided to go ask the lady wearing the traditional "Mantilla" (head covering), she certainly looked like the most fervent devout. If I was ridiculed by anyone during this journey, it was by this lady. The one that had just come out of mass nonetheless! (Lesson#3: Most people don't "walk their talk").
I walked back to the car as disappointed and humiliated as one could feel. My dad couldn't hide his embarrassment and our business partner, while supportive and cordial, did have a subtle air of victory. Somehow, we got lost on our way out of town and ended up in a dead-end street. The flowers around a majestic statue of the Virgin Mary were being pampered by a Gardener, in a scene worthy of a Bible passage. On the last impulse to help me, my dad said, why don't you ask this man, he probably knows something. (Lesson #4: Your conviction can inspire others on the road).
"Excuse me sir. We are looking for the place where supposedly there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary".
"I'm sorry young lady, but I haven't heard anything about it. But in case you haven't noticed, she's right here, looking at you. I don't think you need to search no more".
I still get goosebumps to think about it. (Lesson #5: What you are looking for, might not be where you expected it).
On our way back, the two men were very quiet. We were all trying to make sense of what had just happened. At some point, my dad said: "You know Leti, I can't explain what just happened. All I know is that if we had indeed found THE place, I would have not been as impacted as I am now. You searched for the Virgin and you indeed found her". Our partner joined in, recognizing that what he had just witnessed was one of the most inexplicable things he had ever experienced. (Lesson#6: Sometimes you are the channel of something bigger than yourself).
Faith and Conviction are the biggest backbone you can have when searching for something. Follow your instinct and disregard those that ridicule you along the way. The road will take you somewhere meaningful, even if it's not where you intended to go in the first place. Just be careful not to miss the sign at the end of the road.