It’s hard to believe we’re only three weeks into 2015 and it’s just a month since I joined LinkedIn with my first blog. I've had some interesting mails sent to my inbox so far. Some from industry people I know from the automotive circuit, a ton of recruiters (we do this in house by the way) and many colleagues old and new. Some with stories of inspiration, some just looking to connect. The question I've been asked a few times already though is about the ‘secret of success’.

This reminded me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago on a visit to one of my favourite countries, America. It was during a presentation on Pendragon where I gave an introduction to the company and a little on my own background. I spoke to a bunch of people afterwards, but there was one exchange in particular that really stuck in my mind. I was approached by a guy, a native New Yorker type with a thick accent who came over to me, shook my hand and said something along the lines of; had it been an American that had told the story of an apprentice technician who left school at 15 to become CEO of the country’s biggest automotive retailer, he would have exclaimed the phrase – Only in America. Because that’s the American Dream right? Overcoming barriers and working hard to succeed and prosper in the land of opportunity. But is it "Only in America"?

Admittedly back in the day it was probably considered rather un-British and brash to be openly ambitious and celebrate success but I'd like to think us Brits are no longer restricted to the stiff upper lip and modest demeanor of keeping calm and carrying on. Let's not keep calm is what I say. Let’s start getting passionate about striving for success and create a society that encourages and celebrates ambition. I think we’re definitely making steps in that direction. I’m all for breeding success, it’s what we encourage among team members and are quite happy to shout about. Driven to Succeed is the strap-line, we do like a good motoring pun. But at the heart of it, it’s about empowering team members with opportunities, a thriving environment and training to grow and succeed whether you're here in the UK or in our businesses across the pond in California. Set your goals and succeed in achieving them and you will be celebrated.

Flash back to my American tale and the point that the story of Pendragon changed this New Yorker’s inclination to say, only in America. Because the desire to grab opportunities, overcome barriers and achieve success doesn't only happen in America, it happened here in Great Britain and the reality is, it can and does, happen everywhere. The caveat is hard work. So my public response to those inbox mails is that I genuinely believe there’s no ‘secret’ to success, just hard work. A dream to succeed does not have geographical barriers and is not refined to a single nation.

Do you believe there is a ‘secret to success’? Or have you ever changed someone’s opinion?