Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

My fascination with UK based Tesco PLC occurred when Tesco- Homeplus South Korea introduced a Subway Virtual Grocery Store using smart phones in Seoul, Korea  at the Seolleung underground train station.     Virtual grocery shopping before you board your train? The concept was unheard of and unproven.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco. He signed a copy of his book Management in 10 Words.   Courage and Act were two words from his book. By definition courageous acts or audacious goals take you into uncharted territory, beyond the safe borders you have set for yourself.  You have to turn your words into action. You have to be disciplined after a mistake is made to stop and identify lessons learned from the mistake and continue moving forward.  This can be applied to the African American community. 

 One example that could be applied to courage and action is the success of Paul Luyeye and his wife Martha Makuena of Congo.  The couple moved to Beijing, China for a job opportunity and later opened the first African hair salon in 2003.   There were an estimated 3,000 Africans in Beijing.  The couple had a vision, learned Mandarin and diligently set a course to capitalize on the opportunity.  

Another example is the story of Fredrick Bruce Thomas (Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas) that migrated from Mississippi to Europe and eventually Russia.  Thanks to Quintard Taylor of Blackpast.org for sharing these incredible proof points of courage and action.  In 1894 Thomas fled to Paris to seek greater freedom.  During his time there he learned French and developed exception his skills as a waiter and valet. In 1899, Thomas traveled to Russia where there were few African Americans in a country of over one million.  By 1911, Thomas learned Russian and succeeded again as a waiter.  He succeed in two entertainment ventures.  His last one Maxim became the favorite for Russia night spot for five years.   He was the first African American to get Russian citizenship.  All of these examples have one thing in common.  They were not afraid to get out of their comfort zone to gain success.  International borders where not an obstacle. Something that we should think about.  Something that our community needs to think about.