Why Exceptionalism Matters?

by | Dec 28, 2020 | Lifestyle

Despite our turbulent, ever-changing world, which has turned upside down since the global pandemic started earlier in 2020, I remain optimistic and pragmatic. I have been reflecting a bit lately… 

“Full Sail Ahead” was the theme of one of the eight annual Forbes Global CEO Conferences to which I was privileged to be invited and that I attended before Forbes Media was acquired. This one was a decade ago. 

The unique gathering focused on the determination of billionaires, tycoons, and other global business leaders, including those who own or run family offices and enterprises, to go “full sail ahead” in search of new growth opportunities in volatile times. The panels examined the ways in which CEOs thrive on adversity and identify opportunities. The sessions also featured in-depth discussions on leadership, human capital, social responsibility, and philanthropy. 

Parallel to what I can envision is ahead of us today, back then we foresaw a major economic recovery in the coming years. Worldwide growth opportunities are abundant for real leaders and entrepreneurs. As what I do includes profoundly mentoring, guiding, and developing next-generation leaders, I would like to highlight this passage from the Forbes event team: 

“When the sea is calm, anyone can hold the helm. In volatile times, world business leaders take on the role of master mariners. They know how to set a course through the aftermath of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, outwit the forces of nature, keep their ship on an even keel, and head towards safer ports that promise more growth. The journey of the master mariners is riddled with aftershocks from the crisis, but glory awaits those who surmount them with determination and help create a better future.” 

Leadership can start as early as the teenage years. Thirteen years ago, as a loving father, observant globetrotter, and education technology (edtech) CEO, I saw that most young people (including my own two daughters) felt angsty or lost. High achievers were often stressed out or anxiety-ridden, and almost all students hadn’t unleashed their full potential. Wasted or “undertapped” potential, I thought. What if I help them really shine, win, grow, and be happier—with greater impact and long-term gains? 

I also noticed a dearth of truly high-quality, rising-generation leaders around the world. Thus, I decided to dedicate my second career to transforming young achievers, preparing them for admission to great colleges and universities, mentoring them to develop powerful mindsets and soft skills, and guiding them to enter and thrive in high-end careers and family businesses as rising, impactful leaders. Looking back, I see that I passionately added education and mentoring, in addition to business “rainmaking” and speaking, to my own skill set acquired through my 36 years of experience in technology, education, real estate, and other industries around the world. 

Privileged to be known these days as the Chief Mentor of Next-Gen Leaders in family office and high-level circles, I find it important to hone into my students high-quality, pragmatic “3EQ” (emotional, social, and leadership intelligence), key soft skills, strategies (in global business, school, and personal success), and execution effectiveness. My students range from high-achieving Gen Zers to Millennials to Gen X C-suite leaders, and I often partner with Gen X, Boomer, and even elder matriarchs and patriarchs for their collective success. 

I love it when my students meaningfully learn, contribute, achieve, grow, connect, and succeed, given their life stages and the goals and milestones most important to them.  

So, my friends, imagine being master mariners in business, family, and learning, starting today and continuing into the future. Work, give, forgive, learn, connect, play, and live with passion. These actions will carry you toward your next-level success with well-being. 

I look forward to contributing my thoughts and writings on the theme of “Family Exceptionalism” and such on this platform. 


About the Author

Known in family office and high-level circles as Chief Mentor of Next-Gen Leaders, Jason Ma is Founder and CEO of ThreeEQ, a family-owned, premier global business and education advisory firm. Jason is the critically acclaimed author of Young Leaders 3.0 and former Forbes contributor on Mentoring Young Leaders (1.6M+ views). Jason was a Forbes Global CEO Conference delegate for 8 years before Forbes Media was acquired. Jason is a leading member of the B20, the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community, serving on the Future of Work and Education Task Force.