AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani with the cabin crew atop a double-decker bus promoting the airline’s route launch in London. — Picture courtesy of AirAsia
All it takes is blood, sweat, tears and persistence
It all started when young Tan Sri Tony Fernandes called home.
There I was, sitting and listening intently as AirAsia Group’s CEO recounted the story of how his childhood dream came true.
Fernandes was sharing with passion, and not a little emotion, the story of his success with an audience at a recent Global Malaysia event organised by the BFM radio station and the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme.
He revealed that when he was a young student in boarding school in London, he often called home to tell his mother he wanted to come back, but his mother would always say “No” because the plane tickets to Malaysia were just too expensive.
Fernandes then vowed he would make flying (and long haul trips at that) affordable for all one day.
Decades later, that dream has come to pass. Fernandes went on to add that when AirAsia finally flew from London to Kuala Lumpur, he had a driver pick him up from his former boarding school in London to take him to the London airport to catch the AirAsia X flight to Kuala Lumpur, just as he dreamt it would be when he was young. He had made his dream come true, now everyone could fly.
But some people scoff at dreamers. They think dreamers are not doers. And, yes, there are some who are just daydreamers who never really get anything done. They forget that it always starts with a dream.
Had it not been for a dream, America would not have a black president. If it wasn’t for following a dream, we would not be using some of the most advanced technology today. Somebody invented those products because it started with a dream.
It is not so much the dream of amassing fame and fortune, but a dream of making the world a better place. A dream to create things that will make life better and easier. Just like the dreams of Fernandes, Steve Jobs and many others. A dream that is bigger than the agenda of just one person or the sole motive of making money.
Listening to Fernandes’ story made me think of my own. Since an early age, I have always loved story-telling. In fact, till this day, my family still keeps a cassette recording of me, at six years old, telling story after story with dramatic sound effects. I also like to write. As a little girl, I used to send short stories to the newspapers, especially the Sunday section.
Every Sunday, my eyes would scan the papers in excitement, to see if they had published my story. They never did. After all, they were just the childish scribbles (no computer in those days) of a little girl. But if you are reading my column now, you should know that part of my dream has come true.
I believe many entrepreneurs are dreamers, especially those who are just starting out. We dream of growing big and going global. We dream of seeing our products fly off the shelves in seconds and customers returning to our shops in throngs. Like a child, we dream of growing up so we can spend our own money and do what we like.
Some entrepreneurs have realised their dreams through blood, sweat and tears. They are the success stories you read about today. Some are still working it out, while others have lost sight of their dream. They’ve been side-tracked or discouraged along the way, and after a while, they just stop believing.
In a training session several years ago in my former company, the trainer asked us to introduce ourselves to our colleagues with a statement of what we want to achieve in life. To the utter shock and amusement of my former colleagues, I unabashedly declared, “I want to be the author of a best-selling novel that is made into a Hollywood movie!” You too must be laughing now! But, as crazy as it sounded then, this is still my dream. I believe dreams can come true if we do not give up trying and believing.
> Jeanisha believes that we all have something we are born to do that can help make this world a better place, whether at work or in a business. What can stop you when you have a big dream and big heart? Talk to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.