This last week I finished the novel, ‘127 Hours‘, which is the story of Aron Ralston who’s hand got caught during a climbing accident and he had to cut it off to free himself and save his life. Then a few days later I went and saw the movie Soul Surfer, which is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark while surfing. In the movie there was a part where Bethany asks her dad if he can help her surf again. He tells her, “it’s not going to be easy” and she responds, “I don’t need easy, I just need possible”. It was a great line and it really stuck with me. We all just need possible when we’re faced with challenging circumstances.
One of the most challenging times of my life was right after 9-11. I owned a call center business that took inbound calls from radio and TV ads. I had 185 employees working for me at the time and the phones just stopped ringing. None of my clients would run advertising because it was 24/7 news. I had all these employees and no way to produce revenue. I looked at my finances and came to the grim realization that I could only make it about six weeks before I would be unable to make payroll and find myself completely out of business. I contacted my investors and they said they wouldn’t be able to invest anymore money into my company. Banks weren’t interested in another loan either. It seemed like I was out of options.
I decided then that if I was going to go out of business, it would only be after I had exhausted every idea possible. Even though I was hurting along the rest of the nation, I would be positive. I would inspire my team to help me find a solution. Every day as I went to work, I would consider what we could do that day to create revenue. We followed up on every lead and every possibility but things just weren’t looking good.
Then, a week before I ran out of money, I was approached by someone to take on a project that was completely different than anything we had ever done. Seeing that I had nothing to lose, I agreed to run with it. Under different circumstances I think I would have turned the project down, but within weeks it became our largest client and completely changed our business model. It was a huge success and ended up being the platform that launched the company to 600 agents before I sold it in 2007.
During that time, i learned something that many people have to lose everything to realize. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge and running out of options, the most important thing is to believe that success is possible. You have to work with everything you have to create the desired outcome but only if you truly believe in your chance of success. The power of belief is strong. It can save lives like in the story of Aron Ralston, or in my case, it can save my company and my livelihood. In your case it can create success in any aspect of your life.