Dear Success Seeker

The Colour of Success
By Michele Wright PhD

Life is full of many signs and wonders, but very few phenomena have intrigued me more than the rainbow, one of the most breathtaking marvels of creation.

Like a rainbow, success has many different spectrums of colors that synergistically form a single continuum of brilliance.

Success has no limits or boundaries. One color doesn’t fit all. There is no definite pattern for success. The multitude and difference of shades are what define our personal destiny in this rainbow of life. Therefore, just as we have become accustomed to appreciating all of the various and unique colors in the rainbow, we must value and celebrate all of the assorted and distinctive tones in “The Colour of Success”.

Today I am a doctor, but I was an African-American baby (born with both a peculiar blondish complexion and hair) who had an extensive learning disability and severe speech impediment that resulted in my inability to speak before the age of five. I was a strange fruit from the beginning. Even at the age of five, most people could not understand my speech. My parents, Frankie and Garland Wise, must have been concerned but they refused to put me in classes for the educational impaired or challenged. Instead they embraced my unique journey and enrolled me in speech therapy.

I learned at a young age that the journey might not always appear smooth, that it can seem dark and very uncomfortable, but there is always joy and bright light at the end of every path. Speech therapy was painful; it seemed like a never-ending journey. I was trying to talk but no one could hear me. I decided in High School that enough was enough. I would go forward in life proud of my challenges and faults. And this is where I learned the importance of faith. When faith appeared, my rainbow opened up from behind the clouds.

In 1985, at age 17, I entered the Miss Tuskegee Institute High School pageant. Although I did not win, I realized that it is more about what you say than how your say it. I spoke at the pageant and people were interested. I was the only contestant whose speech received a standing ovation that night. The impact of that speech left a blueprint to success in my spirit that night. I knew I could achieve anything I wanted just by being myself. I knew it was my faith and unique spirit that would allow me to achieve my dreams.

Although historically a rainbow is believed to consist only of seven colors, in reality, it consists of an entire continuum of colors. Therefore, in order to appreciate the rainbow, you must appreciate its infinite multitude of possibilities. The dark colors in my life were more representative of the rainy portion of my rainbow. You cannot have a rainbow without sun and rain. In my late twenties rain poured down on me, I was diagnosed with life-threatening lupus and was told I would not live to see thirty. I was devastated. My life, my family, all I had worked for seemed to be taken away from me in one diagnosis. I suffered with severe depression and my prescribed 60-80 mg a day of prednisone drastically disfigured my face and body.

However, against all odds the sun came out. With lots of prayer and the grace and mercy of God, my body was healed and my life shifted. In the spirit of success, I happily continued to walk my path. I went from being a promising engineer at Tuskegee University to being a successful and leading corporate professional in my field. I became a top-level and multiple award-winning sales specialist with Fortune 500 companies around the country.

Most people are bored with the neutral moments in life. However, in addition to raindrops, a rainbow needs both air and sunlight to exist. The neutral points in my life allowed me to air out my insecurities and anxieties to become successful. The neutral moments are what often set us up for success. These are the important moments of preparation that will give you the strength and courage to achieve true greatness. Nothing in life is greater than giving back your riches.

Some people try to keep all of their possessions for themselves. But truly wise people know the biggest reward is when you give back. The bright colors throughout my life are indicative of the countless rays of sunlight that I have had the opportunity to share with the world. With this light, I was able to achieve things unimaginable like a Ph.D., my marriage to my wonderful God-fearing husband Terry Wright, and a groundbreaking book that will enlighten and empower others to their road to success, DEAR SUCCESS SEEKER: Wisdom from Outstanding Women.

Interestingly enough, my biggest challenge with publishing DEAR SUCCESS SEEKER was that it included a diverse list of contributors. I was even strongly encouraged by several literary agents and publishers to specifically market this book towards African-American women. However, I refused to compromise my vision.

From my experience, I knew that “The Colour of Success” comes in many different packages. I could never write a book about success for only one particular group. Honestly, could you imagine a rainbow with only one color as opposed to a diversity of colors? You would simply have a single strip of color hindering a potential masterpiece of art.

True art – like a rainbow — is composed of a multitude of unique colors. Every path to success has and will always be unique. I was able to get 85 remarkable women in various fields – such as entertainment, politics, and religion—to sit down and write letters about their unique journeys to success. Their inspiring testimonies are a tribute to the vastness of “The Colour of Success”.

And similar to a rainbow, DEAR SUCCESS SEEKER is a masterpiece that individuals from all backgrounds – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, education or social-economic status – can enjoy for not only today but for generations to come. Therefore, as a success expert who has celebrated countless of colors in my rainbow of life and in my journey to success, let me inspire all success seekers to appreciate all of the colors in your rainbow and dare to explore the infinite possibilities to living and celebrating “The Colour of Success”.

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