I got my first award for business excellence in 2003. It was quite a surprising development for me. Throughout my life, I hadn't got any prize or even an appreciation gift for anything. I was average in everything - academics, sports and extracurricular activities. Besides, I had joined the profession of a shopkeeper for which a prize was beyond imagination.
But a prize was surely in my destiny. By God's grace, I was able to turn my small business into a successful retail company and we won a contract to supply the nuts and dry fruits to Dubai Duty Free at Dubai International Airport. Of course, I was not alone. There were 3,000 other suppliers serving like me. I did my work honestly and always supplied quality merchandise every year. At last, it paid off.
Once, Dubai Duty Free prepared a list of their best suppliers on the basis of excellence, performance, consistency and commitment to the business, a total of 52 suppliers were shortlisted. Our Al Adil Trading Company achieved the best ranking in the list for which I was honoured with an award and a memento at the hands of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Emirates airline and chief executive of the Emirates Group.
But the award ceremony ran very late as there were a number of awardees from various categories to be honoured. I was waiting for my turn. As I turned my attention back I saw a very sparse crowd behind me in the auditorium, which made me nervous. I began blaming my destiny for giving me everything late in life. But just then I remembered my mother's inspirational words: "Nothing is ever late in life."
Since my childhood, I had always observed my mother taking her lunch and dinner late. She would first serve food to the family and then have it herself. Sometimes when we were invited by relatives or neighbours for a feast, my mother would first rush to the host's kitchen to help the lady of the house. She would prefer to wait and accompany her in the last batch. Once I asked her the reason and she smilingly replied, "Son, we should not degrade the pleasure of life by dividing it into categories like early or late. Better enjoy the moments when you get your turn. Patience is an important virtue. Remember, nothing is ever late in life."Â
As the ceremony was concluding, my name was announced at last. I convinced myself that in any function the best performance award is always conferred at the end. I climbed the stage enthusiastically and received the award with pride. This time when I looked, I saw the auditorium was fully occupied and the crowd was clapping for me. I still enjoy my life and business with the same positive thought, ?better late than never.'
I like a beautiful and inspiring quote by American cartoonist Bil Keany: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift of God, which is why we call it, the present."