It’s a moving day as I watch two legends, Senator John McCain and the Queen of Soul, be laid to rest. Listening to the inspiring words of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, I want to share with you the common denominator of success and what makes us stand out from the crowd. 

It Takes Courage 

Throughout all my years of being a working professional (and really, as far back as I can recall) I remind myself that at the end, only one thing matters: courage. When we feel fear, it is courage that gets us through it. When we make mistakes, courage helps us find the path again. A new job, a huge project, buying a car, buying your first home, filing bankruptcy, losing and restarting, having children… Every single difficult decision we have ever made has one thing in common. That is our courage to make that decision and move forward.  

The Defining Moment

The moments that define us are different than what you may think. Since I sold my business to Bill Gates twelve years ago, not one person has asked me how it felt when I opened my brokerage account and saw that big number for the first time. The questions I am asked again and again are always the same. What was your defining moment? How did you climb your way out of $135,000 in debt with the world turned against you? How did you turn your luck around?  

Yet, I believe it is our mistakes, defeats, and challenges that matter more than our successes. They are what make us relatable. We are, after all, in the business of selling hope. What people really want is hope that they, too, can stay the course and not give up before reaching their own success. How many stories of the princess who turned Queen and had it all handed to her do you find desirable? It means very little when there has been no struggle. On the other hand, Cinderella is inspiring because she worked for and deserved the happiness she found after long last.  

The Common Denominator of Success 

I can sum it up for you in one word. COURAGE. When you have courage, you are just as afraid, just as vulnerable, just as down on your luck, and just as desperate. What matters at the end of the day is only that you mustered up the courage to do what you are afraid of. This is a requirement for growing into the person you want to be 

That’s the common denominator of success. Courage is feeling fear, and then doing it anyway. That’s why I want you to fail fast, fail hard, fail often. Eventually, you’ll realize you are much stronger and more capable than you ever knew.  

All the frustration and anger you’ve experienced gives way to the miracle that prevails in the end when you can say, “I made it.” This is a concept I learned from Gloria Estefan when she broke her back in a horrific tour bus accident. Almost paralyzed, she endured months of painful and difficult rehabilitation. When she was asked years later if she was ever upset with her body having failed her, Gloria’s answer was surprising and one I never forgot. Instead of being angry and lamenting over the difficulties and setbacks this accident brought her, Gloria Estefan simply said that the body is truly miraculous because it has the ability to heal itself even after such a tragedy.  

To look at the opportunity, lesson, and miracle in each setback is something I practice to this day. And now I pass it on to you. Have the courage to take that next step, whatever that might be for you. Don’t wait.   


Beate Chelette is the Founder of The Women’s Code and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.

Beate’s supports Business Owners and organizations who want to reach them two-fold. As The Growth Architect she creates training, outreach and sponsorship programs through customized Entrepreneur skills training following the 5 Star Success Blueprint that shows step-by-step how to grow, build and scale businesses.

In addition Beate provides leadership development programs for organizations that want to implement the ROI of Balanced Leadership through The Women’s Code, her signature system that educates leaders and helps companies achieve gender equality. The Women’s Code creates and implements programs that improve organizational culture, foster productive work environments and help companies improve their people ROI.

Beate is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”

If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on Leadership or Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect here.

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