A Woman of Great Courage

Posted on December 25th, 2012

Book: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas by Stanley, William Danko

FAX TO: William D. Danko, Ph.D., Albany, MY
FROM: Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., Atlanta, GA
RE: A woman of great courage
DATE: Labor Day, a.m.

Guess where your colleague was at 5:30 a.m. this morning? I was boarding an early-bird flight. Although the plane had room for more than a hundred passengers, only about twenty people were on board. Soon after I sat down, we were told there was fog over the destination and that there would be another famous “short delay.” As I stood up, the woman (I’ll call her Laura) sitting in front of me also stood up. I mentioned to her that I was displeased about having to get up so early to make this flight. She responded that she had been flying all night and still had one more leg in her flight. I asked Laura why she was traveling at night. She replied that it was a lot more economical to do so. 

What I found out shortly thereafter was that this woman did not have to fly via a highly discounted ticket. She, in fact, was affluent, but she was also very frugal. What was the purpose of Laura’s travel? She was en route to a conference of real estate executives, where she was to receive the Real Estate Executive of the Year award.

I then asked her how she first became involved in the real estate profession. Laura replied, “Out of necessity.” Laura told me that one morning she found a note from her husband on the kitchen table. Allow me to quote the contents:

Dear Laura, I’m in love with my secretary.

My attorney will fill you in on the details. Wish you and the children good luck.

How did Laura, a housewife with three small children, respond to this information? She was determined not to return to her old job as a high school teacher. Nor would she ever ask her well-to-do parents for economic support. She had grown up in an environment that nurtured independence and discipline. She wondered what she could do with undergraduate and master’s degrees In English literature. 

She discovered that people with her educational background were in great supply and reasoned that her income from her teaching, editing, and writing jobs were not likely to be enough to support her family’s current lifestyle. Thereupon, Laura discussed various employment opportunities with several enlightened business owners in the community. After these discussions, she decided to try the field of real estate sales. During her first four months, she earned more selling real estate than she did in her best year teaching English.

I know you would want to ask Laura the factors she feels contributed to her success. She told me this: It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it. You’ll be surprised how many sales calls you can make when you have no alternative except to succeed. As a young woman, Laura had developed an excellent foundation for her sales career. While attending school, she had convinced dozens of employers to hire her for summer jobs. She also had a variety of part-time jobs while attending high school and college. 

Laura was so good at finding jobs that she helped many of her friends find employment. No doubt she could have had much success in starting an executive recruiting firm. Laura was also the campaign manager for several of her friends who won student government offices in both high school and college. It’s ironic that Laura’s misfortune in marrying a man who lacked integrity eventually translated into a much better life for her and her children.

Because of his transgressions, Laura was able to fully utilize all her talents. The irony is that she always had more potential than her husband to excel in the business world. It’s a proven fact today. She is “much better off” than her former husband. Her success Is also a function of her high level of integrity, something that was lacking in her former husband. After several banner years as a sales professional, Laura founded a highly successful real estate company. In spite of her dramatic financial success, she still flies on the red eyes and early birds. 

You would never think this woman had so much courage and stamina just by looking at her. I would estimate that she is barely five feet tall and weighs no more than ninety-five pounds. However, as we have often agreed, appearances are much less important than the courage, discipline, and resolve of people who are economically productive.

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