Thu | Nov 21, 2019

Blazing a path to success

Published:Sunday | April 15, 2018 | 12:08 AMGlenville Ashby

Book: Get on the Bike
Author: Marsha Norman
Critic: Dr Glenville Ashby

Marsha Norman sets the tone with perfect imagery. A bicycle represents movement, a means of taking a rider to a specific destination.

Without a single misstep, Get on the Bike, a masterfully constructed template, takes us to a desired destination, one of success and profound satisfaction. Having served in public and private sectors throughout the Caribbean, Norman's  experiential knowledge in human resource and development is evident.

She is well aware of the complex impulses that impede success. She forays into psychology and identifies fear as a destructive emotion that paralyses its victims.

It is a phantom that plagues the mind and the body. Feelings of dread consumes the last vestige of libido (will to strive).

But Norman has an antidote. Age-old axioms and biblical tales are deciphered and used as a compass towards development and growth.

In fact, her detailed study of David’s pre eminent rise in Israel, serves as the cornerstone of her thesis.  She extols his leadership and interpersonal prowess.

“The Davidic Principle,” she argues, "shows us that we should make sound use of our opportunities." David decided to “go for it” and he made the most of his life-changing encounter with Goliath ... David knew the enormity of the situation and he was prepared. His was a “big deal.” We need to know when a “get on the bike moment” represents [that] big deal.”

Norman cautions against naysayers and those who feel a sense of Schadenfreude when others fail.

We must guard against poisonous minds and rattlebrained dribble, she argues. “Some people even become angry as we attempt to get on the bike. They try to cover their anger as a form of assistance, telling us they just do not want us to fail.”

She instructively adds, “Nothing is wrong in failing at a particular point in the journey. Failure just means that we had the courage to try.”

In missed opportunities, we are advised against “a never ending cycle of self-loathing, depression and fear.”

We must be focused, poised and ready to capitalise on the right moment.

Preparedness is the sine qua non of success. Passion, drive and developing a personal brand are essential. She explains, “Personal brand is what comes to mind when others think about us or when they see us. It is similar to a corporate brand ... A personal brand can also be developed. We do have natural abilities but overtime with proper work ethics, we can develop a very personal brand just as David did."

Skill, purposefulness, a clear vision, and unbending resolve are also mandatory.

Moreover, we must thirst for perfection. The point of fact is that the most illustrious among us have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals. Norman challenges the commonly held belief that talent is the sole requisite for success, and decries the false notion “that if we are talented in a particular area it means we do no have to work hard."

Still, we must be mindful that Fate can deliver many a curved ball. We are oftentimes tested and harangued. Amid tumultuous times, we must reassess our circumstances and options as we remain rooted in our mission.

“Finish the job!” she exhorts. “Some people are good starters but lose interest in the middle of the journey. Some are able to reach the middle but can never reach the end.”

And with success comes responsibility to self and community. She is anecdotal as she unveils the transformative power of service and gratitude.

“At a certain workplace,” she recalls, “I was the “mentee” and I am forever grateful to my now deceased mentor ... My boss ensured that the work that I was given was just a little above what I could naturally do. This approach caused development.” She later relates the “most lasting  memory of my mentor [that was] not work-related. Norman was gifted “the most beautiful little white dress one had ever seen” for her daughter’s christening.

“In relationships, it is the giving of self which is important, the bonding," she says.

She ends with enduring, indelible words, "Finishing well on the bike indicates leaving behind a strong legacy. It means that we pave the way for others behind us to follow."

Get on the Bike’s religious underpinning could be a distraction, for obvious reasons. 
But Norman's steep religiosity does not smother the timeless, universal truths embedded in her work. Hers is a road map for success, a definitive pathway to enlightenment and self-realisation.

Get on the Bike: A Road Map to Help You Achieve Your Goals, Develop
Your Full Potential and Dream Big by Marsha Norman
© 2017 Marsha Norman
Publisher: Learner Series, USA
Available at Amazon
ISBN: 978-0-9898276-4-5
Ratings: Recommended

 Feedback: or follow him on Twitter: @glenvilleashby