Ten years ago today I was in a motorcycle accident. A truck hit me and shattered my right leg between my ankle and knee. At first the doctors wanted to amputate. Then they said I would never walk again, run again or dance again, but I might be able to keep my leg.
My doctors were the best of the best and worked with all the information they had available to provide the most accurate diagnosis. Problem is when your diagnosis goes from “dead” to “dismembered” as a patient that is not the most encouraging situation, although statistically it is a vast improvement.
In business, like in life, well-meaning and often well-informed people will discourage you from acting. Perhaps you are too young or too old, or too new to the market or not educated enough. There will be numerous people available to cheerfully discourage you in what they think is your best interest at every step of your career.
I could not accept that I would not be able to walk or dance again. The concept was so foreign that I ignored it, and every day, in every way, I actively worked against it. At first my progress was slow and difficult. It took more than a year before I was able to walk unaided by a wheelchair, crutches, walker or cane. Unexpected complications arose that lead to more surgeries and more setbacks. But slowly, ever so slowly, I did learn to walk again.
While I will never be “perfect,” I beat the odds and have performed with a dance troupe at the Kennedy Center.
I kept all those thoughts in mind when arriving in Sydney today on a beautiful, bright afternoon. My leg hurt. I tried not to limp getting off the plane and focused on this new amazing city laid in front of me. Ten years ago I would never have imagined that I would be here, on the other side of the world, growing my budding international business and confidently walking into meetings.
There are tons of stories left untold and countless hours of work left unrecognized, but the most important thing I have ever done is to believe in myself. More on Sydney to come.