I recently read an article about Nina Vaca, a middle child of 5 by 2 immigrant parents from Ecuador, who embraced entrepreneurial endeavors to turn her family’s travel agency business into a $200 million staffing company – Pinnacle Technical Resources.

Vaca’s “perseverance, work ethic, family, and faith,” served as the backbone for her eventual success. But her true grit stemmed from dealings with her father’s murder when she was 17-years-old, leaving the family in fiscal distress. Vaca grew up fast and worked tirelessly to sustain the family business after high school, deferring on college by necessity at the time.

Vaca noted how after founding her company in 1996, the financial crisis of 2001 devastated her business. Her response, “In the darkest moment, you find your greatest strength. Failure has never been an option.” Considering her adolescence and young adult years, it is not surprising she at that time bought out her partner and aggressively diversified her client portfolio.

Her company grew steadily and successfully, despite the offsetting economy. It grew, she claims, from nothing short of “tears, sweat, and building,” and because she was able to get people to “believe in” her. This, to me, is the most important segment of the article. When asked how she thinks of leadership, and what advice she could offer others herein, her response: “The number one thing is to have credibility. Have you ever followed anyone that you don’t trust? 3.3 seconds and they know who you are. You must be credible. Do what you say and say what you do.”

This is something I’ve thought much about. The presence or absence of CREDIBILITY, is something that works itself into my life so frequently, and forms the focal point for many decisions I make on a weekly basis. Yet, it is so infrequently discussed or overtly noticed. I can recall 10 important decisions I’ve made over the prior 60 days that have been based exclusively on my (sometimes preconscious) measure of another person’s credibility. Yet, what exactly is it?

An established sense of credibility I believe is something which becomes earned across time and experience, but equally, is a reflection of one’s nature and general predisposition. Professionally, one cannot become credible without committing to and achieving a certain expertise. Presenting the intricacies of that expertise to non-experts, can be the grey area which separates those whom seem credible from those who do not. The capacity to bridge the gaps affording credibility, usually has to do with the life experiences that have shaped one’s nature, one’s level of insight, and often how one “was raised.”

The article on Vaca concluded with her saying, “It is not enough to want something in life. It is important to prepare yourself. You need to prepare yourself to receive.” That is definitely true. But ultimate success across many aspects of life requires even more. Usually, CREDIBILITY is too a necessary ingredient. Its own recipe is complex, but has as much to do with the rollercoaster ride of life, as with the focused dedication to the mastery of a trade.

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