Last week, in front of a packed house of some of our most generous de Tocqueville supporters, I had the opportunity to interview David Steward, founder and chairman of St. Louis-based World Wide Technology, and discuss how a purpose-driven life impacts success. Dave has certainly experienced tremendous success through the years, but that success did not come without hardship and sacrifice. Dave described his humble beginnings, born into a poor, working-class family in Clinton, Missouri. Dave’s father was a mechanic and his mother was a homemaker; he was one of eight kids. When I asked about his father, Dave described him as persistent, faithful, sacrificial and strong. He also spoke glowingly about his two children and his love for all children. He talked about our collective responsibility to ensure that a young person’s native environment does not have the final say in their destination and success. In talking about young people, Dave couldn’t help but reflect on the importance of legacy and depositing a spirit of power, love and self-discipline into those who he feels called to mentor.
In preparing for the interview, I re-read Dave’s book “Doing Business by the Good Book.” During the discussion, as with his book, Dave talked a lot about the importance of faith and the importance of focusing on and doing right by others. I was particularly drawn to one idea that Dave drilled in to the audience: it takes faith to raise yourself above what others expect of you. When Dave said this, I thought of a saying I’ve heard a time or two before: once a foster kid, always a foster kid. This idea that faith is required to get beyond life’s hurdles resonates with me. Faith requires that we place God at the center and press into our insecurities and weaknesses, knowing that through Him all things are possible.
I am fortunate to have great people like Dave in my life to remind me of what is most important.