“I think we all recognize that the life that we enjoy—our economy, our health, the nature of our social interactions—all those things are far more fragile and vulnerable to disruption than we would have imagined.”
Above are the words of Senator Mitt Romney on the Marriot Student Review’s podcast, Measuring Success Right. During this worldwide pandemic, Romney has been in the middle of legislation, discussing solutions such as the Trust and Relief Acts and working with officials from both sides of the political spectrum. We can all agree that life has been rocky for everyone in the United States in 2020, not just those involved in politics—students at the Marriott School face virtual recruiting this fall, canceled internships and job offers, and uncertain futures. But our success need not be defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his podcast episode, Mitt Romney discusses some tips for becoming a successful business professional, relevant in the “old normal” we left behind and the “new normal” we are approaching.
Find What is in Your Control
Because of Romney’s widespread success in the business and political arenas, it would be easy for anyone in his shoes to value politics over family and business over faith. However, Romney offers some relevant insight into what is truly important to him—faith and family. If he is winning in those areas, he is successful. Regarding his career and politics, Romney says, “My career, and whether that’s promotions or pay or election winning, those things are subject to chance to some degree. I have some influence over those things but not entirely. And you can have ups and downs but that’s not really how you define whether you’re being successful or not.” Success is not based on what you cannot control, but on what you can.
Genuine Concern for Others
Mitt Romney has an expansive professional network; based on his interactions with these professionals, Romney explains that one of the tell-tale signs of a successful businessperson is genuine concern for others. Romney notes his relationship with Bill Marriott, the CEO of Marriott International and the namesake for our business school here at BYU. Marriott’s caring and compassion for others set a standard for his company that carries on today. Romney elaborates, “I think what is awfully important is to develop a genuine concern for the people that you work with, for the people that are your customers, that are the people who help your enterprise as lenders, suppliers, and your own employees.” Genuine kindness not only builds a business or a career but is also maintains one.
The Real Measure of a Successful Life
Near the end of the podcast, Romney acknowledges that each of our situations will be different. What is right for one person may be wrong for another. I’ve experienced this firsthand. But drawing close to what is most important to us is relevant no matter what path we take on our individual life and career journeys. So, as we students of the BYU Marriott School face the future amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, let’s do so with a focus on what is truly important in our lives. Oftentimes, these things are within our control and lead us to have genuine concern for others, pushing us further along the path of success. Mitt Romney ends with a powerful reminder of this truth:
“There are some people who would write their life’s history with an adding machine. In other words, they want to see how many promotions they got or how much money they made. And I happen to think that that’s not the real measure of a successful life. And for me, the real currency in life is the people you love and the people who are your friends.”
Check out the full podcast episode to learn more about “measuring success right” from Senator Mitt Romney.