What story does this tattoo tell? Sure, it’s funny that the poor lad started out with a vision for something meaningful and ended up with a permanent reminder that he should have paid more attention at school. But does that diminish his efforts? If the execution isn’t faultless does it render the endeavour moot?
Six months ago I held a meeting with our expert contributors and a few key contacts to discuss the idea for a community awards and fundraising event. I was desperate to do something that would demonstrate the gratitude of our community for the tireless work the NHS has done during the pandemic. As I set out my ambitious plan to get 1,000 ERPers to Ascot Racecourse for a day of fun, awards and fundraising, I could see the colour draining from the faces of my audience. One by one they told me that it was too ambitious, that the community wouldn’t pull together and urged me, in the kindest terms, not to risk my business on an idea that had the potential to bankrupt me.
A few months later, every ERP vendor and global partner has committed their support to the idea and we have sold more than 1,000 tickets. The response from the community has been phenomenal and on 23rd September we will be hosting a unique event that the whole ERP community can be proud of.
So why am I telling you this? Is it just to blow my own trumpet? Well, a little maybe, but the real reason I am telling this story is because there’s an important lesson to be learned about facing adversity, accepting limitations, and still pulling through.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing; much like the illiterate, inked illustration of my story, my execution hasn’t always been faultless. I’ve fallen out with people when I’ve let my passion get the better of me. I’ve taken blunt positions when I’ve allowed my emotions to interfere with judgments. And, I’ve taken setbacks personally which have impacted me away from work.
But, I have maintained a clear vision; my eyes have been firmly on the prize and I told myself from the start that the path to success is often turbulent. Most importantly, I entered this knowing that even if it wasn’t perfect, it was worth pursuing.
Success in the face of adversity isn’t down to skill. It’s a mindset. If you believe in something and can articulate your passion it’s possible to overcome most things – and that clarity of vision and unwavering commitment is what is required to transform the way that we work and the purpose behind our endeavours.
As Rachel Head explains later in this issue; change is difficult to achieve. You may not end up exactly where you expected and you will certainly face challenges along the way. But you must retain a strong belief in what you are doing. You must be kind to yourself when things don’t go to plan and you should allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and not let those bumps derail you from your mission.
We all have a lot of changing to do. Virtually every aspect of our lives has been disrupted over the last 18 months and the future is more uncertain now than ever before. But that disruption has also presented us with a golden opportunity to make changes that will begin to undo the mistakes of the past and build a better world for generations to come.
Sustainable business practices and a fair and equitable world for all are tantalisingly within our reach. It won’t be easy, but it is possible if we aim for progress over perfection.
Never don’t give up.