Envision -- that's the first step in getting ahead. Imagine -- imagine where you want to be, imagine how to get there, imagine what people are like that have the same aspirations. That's the advice that building contractor Angelo Perryman gives to young people.

"Research and understand where you want to go in your life," Perryman said during our Executive Q&A interview published in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Perryman is the chief executive of Perryman Building and Construction Services Inc. in Philadelphia.

"If you're thinking that you want to be a president of a company, you need to start looking at the parts and pieces of what presidents do. For me, I used to look at this show called Pinnacle years ago, and it would interview CEOs, and they'd tell the story of how they moved from A to B.

Question: What did you learn from the show?

Answer:  One I always remember and I always was concerned about is the one about Nelson Rockefeller. Nelson Rockefeller was a multi-millionaire by the time he was 32, but he had to eat cracker and water because his stomach couldn't take it. His stomach was all burnt out. He couldn't take it. So I always wanted to make sure that I was calm enough and I knew how to handle things without getting overly emotional. So you begin to practice and without a requirement, you begin to practice and build the muscles -- mental muscles and physical muscles that you need to do the job that are trying to go towards.

Q: How do you do that? How do you build those muscles?

A: The question is, if you've never had a role model like this, how can you prepare, but unlike.

Q: Exactly.  How can you prepare?

A: You imagine it and you imagine what people are doing because you've never had the opportunity to be in those conditions.

Q: How do you get exposed?

A: I always describe it, I'm say I'm bilingual, not really bilingual, but bilingual meaning that I have been exposed to the many cultures and I don't do the things that I that I would do in one community in another community.

Q: At least were exposed. So many people aren't.

A:  I was exposed. There's also that willingness, though. You first have to decide where you're trying to go. It's not a negative not to know. But it is a first obstacle to you growing [if you limit] your understanding of other people. Nelson Mandela was always talking about why e spoke in Afrikaans as he gave his speech after just becoming president. He was saying. `That way they'll listen to you.' It's understanding the culture of the other person to say that they are important.

Q: So the first step is deciding you want to?

A: Yes. Then understand why they take pride in who they are. If they understand that you really think that they're important, they'll then try to see why you are important.

Q: I see.

A: Now you're communicating. Once you start communicating you can overcome most barriers that stop something from happening because the world is made on working together. The more you stand off, the more we don't get along.

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