In the previous post we discussed how opportunities are more likely
to present themselves to those who keep an open mind, through reading and continuous learning. We discussed how opportunities are also more likely to find you when you get out there and tell your story.
You now have a great opportunity in front of you. What’s next? Is this the end of the story or just the beginning? Being presented with an opportunity is just the beginning, now the hard work begins. You know that and are giving it all you have, working hard and smart, looking for ways to get better at what you do, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Some days you achieve your goals, some days you don’t. Some days you feel like you can take on the world and some days it would be easier to throw in the towel. This is the life of an entrepreneur. Business is tough, but nothing worth having comes easy! When the going gets tough and it feels like you are going through hell, do what Winston Churchill said, and “keep going”. Never Quit!
Persistence, endurance and a “never quit” attitude are needed to
get you to success. There have been many examples throughout history where abnormal persistence has led to success, like the story of Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb. It is said to have taken thousands of attempts before he finally found the secret to successfully producing a commercially viable light bulb. Most people would have quit after a dozen or so attempts. A few might have the tenacity to keep going for a few hundred tries, but for Thomas Edison to succeed it took a “never quit’ attitude that would help him carry on despite the difficulties and the disappointments along the way. Despite the exhaustion, weariness and the seemingly endless failures he pressed on. He had a clear vision of what the end result would look like and he was willing to make adjustments and course corrections as needed to get there.
Seek Advice not Opinion.
So many people give up on their dreams too soon, and they do so because they failed to seek advice from those who know what they are talking about. In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill tells the true story of R.U. Darby a gold seeker in the gold rush days. Darby staked his claim and began digging. After weeks of hard work he hit pay dirt. He had it tested and it turned out to be some of the richest ore in Colorado. Excited about his find, Darby bought more equipment and began extracting the ore from his mine. Then something unexpected and disappointing happened, the vein of gold disappeared. Darby kept digging for weeks hoping to once again hit gold. Eventually he had had enough of the tough digging and seemingly fruitless effort and he gave up. He talked to a junk collector who made his living cleaning up scrap from the mining sites, and offered him the deed to the mine for $200.00. The junk collector took the offer knowing that the equipment was worth almost twice that much. Then the junk collector did something Mr. Darby should have done way before giving up. He sought the advice of a mining expert who took a look at the mine and determined that with some slight adjustments in direction they would soon reconnect with the vein that Darby had hit earlier. Sure enough the new owner took the advice and hit one of the richest gold deposits in Colorado, only three feet from where Darby stopped digging. What can we learn from this story? Seek advice on how to overcome your roadblocks and hurdles. Get expert advice on ways to keep on going after your goals and dreams, long before you ever even think about throwing in the towel. Too many people are unsuccessful because they quit three feet from gold.
I like to use the example of writing a book. It is quite an undertaking. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that tell me about their half finished book that they have put aside indefinitely. I hit roadblocks during the writing of my book, where it would have been easier to quit than go on, but I learned the difference between advice and opinion. If I asked a few of my pals if I should write a book or should I keep on writing, they would be happy to share with me all the reasons why it won’t work. You can’t write a book… do you know how long that will take you, how much it will cost, think of how difficult it will be to find a publisher, etc. You see, that’s what I call opinion.
Instead, I asked my friends Greg Reid who wrote the book “Stickability”, on this very subject, or Shep Hyken who has written books about customer service whether I should write a book, they said “of course you can do it… It will be a lot of work, and it will consume your life for a year or two but it can be done. Before you get started here are some things to keep in mind, and here are some pitfalls to avoid.”
This is advice. Advice comes from someone who has been there. Are there areas in your business or life where you have been getting sidetracked by opinion? Are there areas where you could benefit from sound advice?
Adapt, and keep going.
Sometimes life deals you a tough blow! My friend Doug Rogers President of Mr Appliance is a competitive, athletic, ambitious guy and a fellow cyclist. He gives 100% effort to everything he does. From the very first time I met him I noticed that this guy had a great attitude and a zest for life. I took the picture below when Doug and I reached the summit of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale Arizona during a leadership conference last January. Once we reached the top we began racing to the bottom, which ended in an all out sprint to the finish line. This is who Doug is, a guy who understands the importance of perseverance. As we left for home we had no idea that Doug’s “never quit” attitude would soon be tested to the core. A month or so later I received a call that Doug was in the hospital fighting for his life.
He had lost control of his bicycle while riding around a corner and his head struck a metal culvert breaking his spine and multiple bones in his skull. Doug’s positive spirit however was not damaged by the incident despite the devastation his body suffered.
Doctors were amazed when Doug began recovering much quicker than expected. People who visited were amazed at how Doug maintained his positive attitude despite learning that he had lost the use of his legs. For anyone including an athlete like Doug this would be devastating news. Your life as you knew it is over. Many people become depressed by this type of situation and give up, but not Doug.
As soon as he could sit up, even while still breathing from a tracheotomy, he asked for his laptop so he could get back to work.
Cycling was next. He is now riding around on his new bike, which is designed to be pedaled using his arms and upper body.
Less than a 12 months later Doug is back at his office working as President of Mr. Appliance full of drive and ambition leading his company to new heights.
Doug received the Don Dwyer award of Excellence this year at The Dwyer Group Reunion for his unbelievable resilience, endurance, and “Never Quit” spirit, which is an inspiration to so many
What situations are you facing in business or life that seem insurmountable? Can you take away some lessons and inspiration from Doug’s story that will help you see your situation in a different light and give you the attitude needed for success?
We can all learn many lessons from Doug that can be applied to our lives and our businesses. What I’ve learned is the importance of adapting to the situations that we find ourselves in, learning new things, making the adjustments necessary no matter how difficult they may be and than pressing on. Never quit!
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“Peter van Stralen knows that when you care about your team, they will pass along that caring attitude to your customers, and success will follow. If you haven’t yet created a culture of care in your organization, read C.A.R.E. Leadership and make it happen.”
— Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Trust Works