June 24, 2009 Chris Fuller

What is your belief about obstacles and problems?

What makes one team quit, only seems to inspire another…

Another excerpt from that same interchange that we started in yesterday’s blog (Joe is continuing the conversation with Michael):

“One year on the trail, we had a blizzard come in. I couldn’t even see to the front of my team dogs. I stopped them and created places where they could at least have some break from the blowing snow, and then I did what my father had taught me. I knelt down in the snow and I faced the storm.”

“You didn’t turn your back to the storm?” Michael inquired.

“No! Joe responded emphatically, “You must turn your face to the storm. In this position, it causes the snow to blow around you and pile up behind you. It forms a mound that you can then dig into and create a shelter. You can hollow it out, like a miniature igloo, and last for a couple of days.

“If you turn your back to the storms, you will be covered and most likely die. But facing the storms creates a place of refuge.

What do you teach business people? Don’t you teach people some of these things?”

My mind immediately went to a large framed picture that I had heard hangs in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company. The sign reads,

“PROBLEMS ARE MONEY. SOLVE THE PROBLEMS, AND YOU GET THE MONEY.”

I rode the rest of the night with my weight on the left runner. I was drenched and half frozen but thankful for Joe’s support in bolstering the mindset that I could overcome what seemed to be relentless and overwhelming problems.

I thought often over the next 30 miles about Lance Mackey. He had gone through throat cancer, had a good chunk of his throat cut out, had lost part of his saliva glands and had to carry a water bottle just to keep his throat moist. Only three years later, in the 2007 race, he went 200 miles on a broken runner and WON!

This year in the Iditarod storms were predicted to hit the trail hard. One of the mushers remarked that he hoped it to be true. He said the strength of his team was to run in impossible conditions that would make other teams quit. Conditions of a severe blowing wind pushing the temperature to -50 F below would give him a competitive edge.

Can we learn to own that mentality? That problems and adversity only serve to differentiate the weak from the strong – that we need to “face the storm” if we are to survive…

There are many storms in business that we are facing right now. Embrace that they will only serve to separate you from the competition and that it is only on difficult ground that are reputations are made and our respect earned.

Problems are not problems – problems are opportunities disguised as discouragement.

Run the race – Face it down – Overcome!

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