Last week I attended the sales kick-off meeting in Orlando of a customer of ours where I had the great pleasure of listening to keynote speaker, round the world solo yachtsman, Neal Petersen. While there are several hundred people who have also achieved this feat what sets Neal apart is that he grew up a person of color in Apartheid South Africa, in abject poverty and suffered from severe hip disabilities in his early childhood.
Given the hand that he had been dealt, the likelihood of his being able to enter the somewhat elite and extremely expensive world of round the world sailing seemed remote at best and as many people told him, probably impossible. But succeed he did and while I am not going to recount his story here (I would encourage you to check out his website http://www.no-barriers.com/) what I will say is that he reminds us that is we refuse to accept the barriers in front of us we can succeed at anything.
A timely reminder as we head into another year of tough economic conditions with risk aversion now almost burned into the psyche of buyers. We can either accept these as barriers or we can choose to see them as ways of proving that we can articulate and deliver value, both of which will overcome the reticence of many buyers.
As Neal says "In life there are no barriers ~ only solutions!" and given what he ultimately achieved against the odds not only does he say it and believe it but he has proven it to be true. I can't think of a better mantra as we head into the business development challenges of 2011!