I had never seen or heard any of my immediate or distant relatives engage in business, self-employment or investments. By all means, I was taking a leap of faith by stepping into a world, no one around me had ever experienced in life.
People often ask me, what is the secret to success? Is it being well connected? Or working harder than the average population? Or is it something natural that you are born with? Well, I can’t answer for what is THE secret to success, I can, however, share MY secret to success. The answer does not lie in the previously mentioned statements, the secret to my success is the ability to keep going. That is the first lesson I learned, to “never stop trying, regardless of how many times you fail.\” Although I had all the support one would seemingly require from my partner and family, my hardworking employees (whom I credit my success to), and my friends, but that didn’t mean I did not have to face the occasional ups and downs. I have had my fair share of challenges and difficulties. Though it was slow and lonely, where quitting often seemed easier than continuing but with discipline and consistency, I was able to achieve, apparently the unachievable.
Back in 1989 during my prime years and at the start of my career, I started saving up small amounts of money and investing in Initial Public Offering (IPO). This was my first step towards a long journey of stock brokerage. Belonging to a working-class family, I had never seen or heard any of my immediate or distant relatives engage in business, self-employment or investments. By all means, I was taking a leap of faith by stepping into a world, no one around me had ever experienced in life. I had never imagined the response and results I got, and that initial boost was what encouraged me to continue.
Consequently, I started saving money to apply for more IPO\’S and with the grace of Allah and I made a decent portfolio in the coming years. The odds were in my favor as at the time Pakistan\’s economy was also growing decently. Soon after, though, an urgent requirement for money led me to liquidate my entire portfolio. Recovering from this crisis, I realized that even though liquidating my portfolio as a result of circumstances that were out of my control, it was still the perfect timing to liquidate any assets. Pakistan’s stock market was at its’ peak, and it was the perfect time to sell analyzing the details, I recognized how good my instinct was for this business. Subsequently, I decided to get into business with a prominent Karachi-based Stockbroker (name left out due to confidentiality) and eventually opened my own brokerage house. From being a trader, an accountant, a manager and eventually owning a business myself I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen rock bottom and experienced the peak of my career, but let me tell you: the middle ground is the best place to be. The start of it all was very small, but I always had a desire to make it big and I did. So, remember, slow and steady wins the race.
A saying by Napoleon Hill always stuck with me during all these times, it goes something like “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” Desire, passion, name all the synonyms point is unless you’re driven you won’t put in the effort. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in effort, I believe in desire, and I believe in dreams. I believed in my dream, and that is precisely why my dream always overshadowed the nightmares. Find your dream and stick to it. Just as I was attaining stability, disaster struck, yet again. Pakistan’s Economy suffered greatly at the hands of Parliament getting dissolved. It was times of uncertainty a stockbroker’s worst nightmare. But wait, it gets worse, a coup d’état.
All of these circumstances led to a crash in the market and we all suffered great losses. Giving up, however, still wasn’t an option. As they say, behind every dark cloud, is a silver lining. After the unfortunate tragedy of 9/11, the markets surprisingly flourished. With great economic progress and the index flourishing, it was a time of improvement. It finally felt like the hard work was paying off, and I was about to achieve the fruits of my patience when life once again humbled me. It’s now 2008 and the Global Recession hit Pakistan and the market was shut down for more than 90 days. To be honest, keeping the faith was getting harder. The stakes were higher this time around, I was a family man with kids to support and more financial responsibility. Believing in my dream seemed like a privilege. So, I planned to move to the United States. I left my business to my employees and directors. I started a new life, but I couldn’t build a new dream.
That’s the tricky bit about consistency, it leads you somewhere, but it holds you down in place too. So, consistency in your dream is essential. Because it was my loyalty to my dream that brought me back to Pakistan in 2013, to give myself and my dream another chance. Working my way up again, as I gained confidence, I started focusing on expanding. I opened multiple branches in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Abbottabad to name a few. Alhamdulillah, as I write this today, Zahid Latif Khan Securities (ZLK Securities) is a household name in North Pakistan. Embedded in our company’s core mission is honesty. Honest with our clients and with each other. The market continues to move in a boom-bust cycle. A few good years are followed by a time of recession. Which is what taught me that all my life thinking my dream deserved “another chance” was an entirely misconstrued perspective to look at it from, dreams aren’t meant to be judged by the outcome and success isn’t a linearly upwards graph it isn’t consistent. The only thing that can be and should be consistent is your dedication, the rest is up to Allah.
COVID once again was a time of tremendous tragedy in terms of lives, financial stability, and mental health. But I have spent a lifetime in this career, assessing the ups and downs and realizing that control is a devious concept let it go. Survival in a world as cruel as the one we live in; internal optimism is the key. All in all, standing steadfast in the face of challenges and downfalls we made it through every crisis even covid.
On to my final piece of advice, the importance of teamwork and the ability to be a team player. As they say, if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. So, pick your battles wisely. Picking my battles wisely, dreaming big, believing in my dreams enough to take timely risks and the innumerable blessings of Allah are
the primary reasons for my success. Dreaming big has brought me from opening a small brokerage house in my name to today having my name in association with capital market concerns like PMEX, Digital Custodian Company Ltd, NCCPL, PSX, Pakistan Stockbroker Association, and ISE REIT Management Company to name a few. So, dream big and work endlessly towards fulfilling it.
Success will catch up. A saying by Napoleon Hill always stuck with me during all these times, it goes something like “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” Desire, passion, name all the synonyms point is unless you’re driven you won’t put in the effort. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in effort, I believe in desire, and I believe in dreams.