Give me a good book to read and I have a slice of heaven in my hands. One of my favorite types to read is true stories of survival. I’m hosting a book club at my house this month and my book choice is the mack-daddy survival story of all time: Unbroken. It follows Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, through his life of horror as a World War II prisoner of war and how he made a miraculous and life-altering comeback.
Louie’s first breakthrough was when he represented the University of Southern California in the 1938 NCAA Championships. Opponents tried to injure Zamperini during the race to slow him down. Despite having a rib cracked, both shins punctured, and one of his toes impaled by sharpened track spikes, he set a new NCAA record — running the mile in 4:08.3.
When you feel like everyone and everything is trying to torpedo your business, do you turn up the heat and get more committed? Or do you go home? I say let your frustration, poor-me attitude and despair be channeled into a stronger intention to win. Then take inspired action to get the momentum going from your new fresh perspective.
Louie had many close calls with death, but one of the major ones was during WW II in the Pacific when his plane had a malfunction and spun out of control into the ocean. The three survivors floated on two tiny air rafts with few supplies, day after day being circled by sharks. They maintained that they would be rescued and paid little attention to the sharks. They focused on sharpening their mental focus so they didn’t go crazy from the situation.
In your business you must also maintain a sense of peace even when danger and chaos surround you. You have to be disciplined enough to focus on the desired outcome no matter how bleak things become. Louie did daily mental drills and became more mentally clear than he ever had in the busy world back in California.
In business, most entrepreneurs won’t take the time to do the things that will give them clarity. Consistent exercises will improve your connection to the bigger picture and Source Energy. Those are the most important practices for massive profits.
The plane survivors had been drifting for 27 days when a Japanese bomber shot 48 bullet holes in their rafts. Louie jumped in the water to avoid being hit. He immediately encountered those very sharks that had been circling his raft every day. He did what anyone wanting to live would do — he punched them in the face when they came at him. He did this so often, he was worn out at the end. And he was not shot.
In business, you must always face your fears straight on. If numbers scare you, sit down with your expenses, debt and income and make a plan. Make peace with where you are and then handle whatever needs to be done in the moment. You have to do what you need to do to survive in the moment. Once you remove the immediate pressure, then you can take on the next step.
Louie survived 47 days — almost seven weeks! — in that raft, only to be captured by the Japanese (talk about going from bad to worse). He was tortured emotionally and physically for two years. He and others refused to let their captors take away their dignity by doing all sorts of small practices to maintain their sanity.
In your business, lack of profits and finding a quality team will threaten to beat you down. You may be tempted to feel small and unworthy of success. You’ll want to believe that you’ll never get out of your slumps. But you can, and will, when you toughen up to your Gremlins. They have no power over you unless you believe their lies. Team up with others who will support you in going for what is possible.
When the war was over, Louie’s mental demons led him to alcoholism and anger. His wife dragged him to a Billy Graham sermon and he reconnected to his true purpose. He toured the world speaking of his connection to God, forgiveness and his life adventures. He once said he hadn’t been angry in over forty years.
When you are truly connected to your passion, you will find ways to monetize it. When you fail to be the success you wish, accept yourself and move forward. You can pivot your focus any day you choose. Life changes the moment you make a decision.
When Louie heard the sermon that inspired him, he literally released all of his pain from the war in a moment. He had no more flash backs, no nightmares and poured all the liquor in his home down the drain. It came from his decision to live a more purposeful and positive life.
Having a business is in no way a horror story that comes close to Louis Zamperini’s. In fact, if you have a positive outlook, faith, create your ideal plan, and follow it, you’ll be delighted at how easy success can be.