Yesterday, I spent time with a friend who is also trading at Badminton Horse Trials. We both have similar sized businesses and a shared background that includes a previous venture that has gone bust. I recognise in him a kindred spirit with the same relentless drive, passion for his product and very significant scar tissue from previous failures.
Scar tissue, in this case, means hard-won experience in managing, and coping with stress, pressure and adversity during significant personal or business challenges. I have read about venture capital firms looking for scar tissue in the founders of the companies they back. It is a great predictor of future success.
I consider it to be a defining characteristic of the people I respect and admire. For me, the way someone behaves during the tough times shows me who they are. Anyone can do it when it’s easy, with the wind behind their sails and everything is going smoothly.
But can that person continue to work and perform when it gets hard and nothing is going right? Problems heap on top of problems. Can they make tough or unpopular decisions? It is during these dark and challenging times that your real character shines through. Are you a fighter? Are you committed? Can you demonstrate grit and determination? Do you have what it takes to battle through adversity?
All of us go through difficult and hard times; our lives follow remarkably similar pathways. But there are striking differences in the way individuals respond to their problems and challenges.
One group get angry, blame those around them and believe the world is against them. They fail to rise above the challenge; they fail to learn from their experiences and are destined to repeat the pattern again and again.
The second group see problems as opportunities to grow, learn and develop. This group understands the problem are not personal; it doesn’t matter who’s at fault or who is to blame. What matters is that the problem gets sorted, and they move forward. They relish the challenges that life throws their way.
I heard a quote on YouTube this morning; sadly I don’t know who it’s by, that resonated with me deeply:
“You must believe in yourself enough now, to be the person today, who others will remember you as tomorrow.”
I believe we all have it within us right now to be the person we have always dreamed of. It’s not easy; the pathway to your dreams rarely is. But if you want it badly enough, if you are prepared to sacrifice and work your fingers to the bone, then you can make it a reality. Long before others believe, you must believe it’s possible.
Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.