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Perry Cross, a young Australian, was just 19 in April 1994, when he was tackled in a Representative Rugby Union match and found himself at the bottom of a collapsed ruck. When the knot of players crawled back to their feet. One man lay still in a crumpled heap on the field, his nose pressed into the unforgiving earth. Perry’s spine had been severed.
Perry’s quadriplegia meant he could not move a muscle in his body except for his eyelids. He could not talk, breathe or conduct even the most basic of bodily functions. Seeing her son’s desperate predicament, Perry’s mum had once looked at him and asked:” Son, should we turn this off? It’s only this machine that’s keeping you alive.” But his mother’s tearful question only cemented a steely resolve in Perry. “No, mum, “ she could read the answer in his eyes, “I’ve got too much to live for.”
Leaders face the truth head on – what’s truly driving you?
Everyday is a challenge for Perry Cross. He is totally dependent on the life support chair that controls every function of his body. Perry Cross was once a champion athlete in both Rugby Union and rowing, with a wonderful future ahead of him. All of a sudden, in 1994, his dreams of sporting glory were ripped from his grasp. He had two choices: to give up and die or find a new dream/new vision to live for. He now spends his time speaking to Australian Youth on the topic of suicide. Perry’s message is simple: “You kids have too much to live for than I do, yet I want to live so much. So what about you? How much do you want to live?” Everywhere he goes, Perry Cross gives to others the gift of life.
What are you doing to work on your vision to have a better future – for you, your team and the organisation you lead?
What behaviours do you need to change in your life so that you can achieve your vision?
Perry’s story proves that if you are truly committed, you can face any obstacle and overcome it. For Perry, everyday is a vast challenge with enormous potential for discouragement and defeat. What gets Perry through is his commitment. Perry is committed to his dream, his vision! He lets nothing get in his way. Perry can’t breathe without his ventilator; he can’t even speak without a tube in his throat. The only movement he can make is to open and close his eyelids and he has learned to sign with his eyes. Yet do you know that Perry Cross has typed on his business card? Communicator! Perry has enormous faith and commitment.
What Perry has today is a direct result of his commitment to his vision. Quitting would have been easy for Perry. Quitting is perhaps what the vast majority of people would do in his circumstances, and we wouldn’t blame them. Giving up on visions and goals is what far too many good people do.
But not successful people. Successful people do not quit.
90% of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit. Paul J. Meyer
What are you quitting on? Why?
Next time you stall on the road to your goal/vision because things get too tough and the price seems too high, just hold the image of Perry Cross before your eyes and remember his example. Remember how tough life is for him and just how much he makes of it, and I guarantee whatever obstacle you are facing will look quite a bit smaller.
Have you given up on your vision? Your goals?
If so, why!?
Are those obstacles really so insurmountable?
If you have the right vision and are prepared to pay the price, staying committed to the course despite the obstacles that arise, then like Perry Cross, you will obtain your vision.
“I’m not just involved in tennis, I’m committed. Do you know the difference between involvement and commitment? Think of ham and eggs. The chicken is involved. The pig is committed.” Martina Navratilova, former number one tennis player.
Perry Cross is committed like the pig. For the last 27 years of my business life, I’ve been totally committed like the pig; sold out and convicted by the vision I have for my life.
How committed are you to your vision?
Are you the chicken or the pig?
We inevitably hit obstacles on the path to our goal. And when we do, the temptation is to quit too soon. If you are in this place right now, you are right on track and much closer to the success you desire than you may realise. If you want to achieve your vision, first you must change your thinking. Our thoughts determine our destiny.
How much energy are you putting into your vision?
Who are you accountable to, to drive your vision?
How organised are you?
What is your battle plan?
Achieving your vision takes discipline.
How disciplined are you? What are you undisciplined about?
Success is created by your daily actions.
Challenges to the vision usually cause stress, hardship and pain, just the things that we – as Aristotle observed- are programmed to avoid. “Doing the hard yards” does not come naturally to many humans yet the vision inevitably carries a big price.
Any big vision will move you somewhere, demand changes of you and stretch lazy muscles. It will take you to new places and the journey will cost in terms of travel time, trouble and energy. It is only ardent resolve that makes possible substantial, consistent progress over inhospitable terrain.
Are you as the leader, 100% committed to your vision?
Can your team see your commitment?
Are you leading by example?
Are you giving them real incentive to follow you?
Is the team committed to achieving the vision?
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Henry (Hank) Ketcham
Are you and your team the chicken or the pig?