Here’s a little tale for you:
It’s the story of a young manager working in a giant company. Very early in her career, people in the company discovered that she was very talented and tried to support her. However, when a few years later in the first slower phase of her development, her performance didn’t improve at the rate management had expected, they lost believe in her and planned to put her on a less prominent position. This lack of trust and perspective disappointed our young manager, so she took a sabbatical and went back to University for two years.
When she came back, management realized that she had grown stronger than ever before. As they wanted to keep her in the company, they had to offer her a better contract than the one she initially had. She spent the money she now earned on external coaches that gave her additional impulses. Her only focus was to improve her capabilities and indeed she became better and better. And the more successful her work was, the less she was afraid to do things differently from what the top management in her company expected from her.
Yet they also saw her progress and how she was successful in more and more complex and difficult tasks and assignments. All colleagues in the company started to admire her for her will to fight, her stamina, her unusual approaches and her success. Now even the top management – pretty annoyed by her during the years – tried to demonstrate their support for her and their pride.
Seven years after coming back to work from University she finally successfully managed a challenge nobody in that giant company ever came close to succeeding in. She reached the top. Not because she listened to what everyone else in her company told her she should do, not because she behaved like all others, but because she fought for what she thinks is right. Her comment: “It was worth fighting!”.
Did I make this story up? No I didn’t.
Only that the young manager in the story is not a manager, but a tennis player and the company is her country – China. It’s the story of Li Na, who won the French Open last Saturday.
Her triumph was that of an individualist driven by performance and the unconditional will to become better, that of a hard-worker who never gives up.
If even the Chinese government couldn’t keep Li Na from fighting for the right to improve and develop – which government is stopping you?