One of my favorite books of all time is Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It’s a story of defeat and success. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton led a group of explorers to make the first crossing of the Antarctic continent. As they approached Antarctica, their ship, the Endurance, become stuck in the ice and they began a battle against the elements for their very lives. Shackleton had many flaws as a man, but as a leader in this tough circumstance, he showed his unfailing character as he led every man in his crew to safety. They suffered unbearable cold and hunger on the ice for over a year. Eventually they were able to row smaller boats to Elephant Island and eventually Shackleton led a smaller group to South Georgia Island (650 miles away) where they found help in a small whaling town.
Every small business owner can learn a thing or two from Shackleton. In addition to leading the expedition, he had to organize funding and manage all the affairs of the “business”. It was during the lead up to World War I when Shackleton was trying to get his expedition up and running. He ran into every obstacle possible. It appeared impossible to raise the funds.
This audio clip shows the exchange between Shackleton and one of the wealthy men he petitioned for funding. Press the play button to listen.
I’m not the type that would recommend putting an expedition, or a business, before family, but in this clip Shackleton shows his perseverance. Against all odds, he pushed forward.
[su_note note_color=”#dfdfdf”]You think the threat of war makes it hard to raise money; it doesn’t make any bloody difference! If it’s not a war, it’s a peace, or the stock market, or the weather, or the time of year. It is always hard, because what I do appears unreasonable to other men.[/su_note]
This is the type of attitude and mental toughness that every entrepreneur must have in order to be successful. Shackleton realized that NOTHING could be an excuse to failure. Failure was not an option for him. He knew it would be hard because others didn’t understand what he was doing. That tends to be the case with most ground-breaking businesses.
If things are hard in your business, let that excite you. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t allow failure to be an option.
That is the only way!