I love inspiring stories. One such inspirational teaching involves Erik Weihenmayer. On August 20, 2008 Eric completed his quest to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents (fewer than 100 climbers have accomplished this feat). Is that inspiring? Yes, but there’s more. He has scaled the shear 3,300 foot granite face of El Capital in Yosemite National Park and a 3,000 foot ice waterfall in the Himalayans. That one man could have done so much is inspiring. But what’s really inspiring is that Eric is blind. That’s right, blind.
Can you imagine? What tremendous courage. What unbelievable training he must have persevered. Here is a man who despite losing his vision at the early age of 13, didn’t let that detract him in his quest for high adventure. But the story isn’t finished. In May 2004 Erik returned to Tibet to teach mountaineering to a school of blind children and five months later lead them up the Rombuk Glacier on the north face of Mt. Everest. These teenagers reached 2,500 feet, higher than any team of blind people have stood in history.
An extraordinary individual? Yes, I would guess that Erik is an exceptional person. But we are all “wired” like Erik and can accomplish amazing achievements if we set goals for ourselves, have complete faith in our abilities, remain fervently optimistic / positive, and work very hard often against potentially stifling counter-forces. Another man dreamed of flying and devoted the majority of his life, while overcoming innumerable potential reasons to stop, to achieving his goal. He succeeded by becoming the first American in space.
We are all capable to achieving greatness, perhaps not as jaw-dropping as Erik’s or Alan Shepard’s accomplishments, but greatness nevertheless. So why don’t we? Why do we often limit ourselves? I suggest that it’s because most Americans don’t set lofty goals nor do they have a vision of what they want to achieve. So we let the prevailing negativity stifle our passion for achievement. Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi wrote “the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will”.
As business owners and leaders, take your business to unimagined successes by creating a vision for your business that inspires employees, customers and suppliers. Set goals that are aligned with that vision and remain committed to achieving your envisioned success. Think creatively. Hire someone to coach you through challenges. Whatever you do don’t become one of those leaders who make excuses by blaming conditions for the poor results of their company. Take responsibility and ownership to overcome these obstacles. Can that be harder than climbing a 29,000 foot mountain without seeing where you’re walking? Commit to totally embracing the “can do” mindset and then do it.
Quote of the Issue
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” President Calvin Coolidge
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Leo Tolstoy
I use the term “being above or below the line” to differentiate those individuals who are always taking responsibility, ownership and accountability for what happens from those whose favorite game is making excuses, denying, and casting blame. Always strive to be an above the line person (take ownership, responsibility and accountability). The economy is imposing difficulties on many business owners, but those who will succeed are those owners who are taking responsibility for growing their businesses rather than blaming the economy for the lack of growth in their business. Who are you associating with? Are your business associates and friends above or below the line people? If below, I suggest you look to find other associates who are above the line to spend time with. Spend more time with friends and business associates who take ownership, responsibility for outcomes. Their attitude will help you succeed.