What is hardiness? My definition is that it’s the ability to roll with whatever life has thrown at you and to keep moving forward. Recently I read the book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand. This book is a biography of Louis Zamperini, who was an Olympian when WWII broke out, heard the call of his country and joined the war effort. While on a rescue mission, his plane crashed and he set the world record for surviving on the ocean. Once out of the ocean, he was captured by the Japanese and survived the brutal treatment in their prison camps.
The story tells an intense tale of what hardiness looks like. I couldn’t help being in complete awe of the resilience of this man who stood in the face of horrendous obstacles and found ways to not only go on, but also, after surviving, to forgive and make the world better because of his message about being hardy.
Comparing the hardiness of a true Olympian and war hero against the hardships of the current business environment makes the challenges of alternative health seem like there’s nothing to complain about. But, since in reality that’s not fair, let’s see what of Louis’ heroics could be applied to your practice.
1) Face current challenging situations with patience. If Louis could endure surviving on a lifeboat with two other men for 47 days and not complain, we can endure the challenges of technology and the constant change it throws into our marketing model.
2) Look for ways to always maintain respect in business. The captive American soldiers maintained their sanity through subtle resistance to the Japanese and their efforts to demoralize. Since most of us aren’t in a dire situation, look for ways to behave that you’ll never regret and that help you to always maintain your respect.
3) Find a way to let go of past hurts and move forward to a clean slate. If Louis, by the grace of God, could find a way to forgive his captors, who beat him day after day for years, and find a way to not let those experiences haunt him—then alternative doctors can find a way past government politics and employee problems and let go of business hurts.
Can you image what a hardy business owner could accomplish if he or she approached their practice using the Louis style—implacable patience with the challenges, maintaining respect for self at all times, and not letting the past define their present business efforts?