The Impossible....


 It's Kind of Fun to Do the Impossible!

by Fred Schippa - Managing Director, RISE Consulting Group, May 31, 2018

That quote was from Walter Elias Disney. The reason this May article is a bit late in the month is that our family enjoyed an amazing three-week vacation in Orlando at Walt Disney World and just returned. We have always been a Disney family and so I thought I would share a couple of thoughts inspired by the life of Walt and how much joy he has given generations as a result. If you take time to read some of his many quotes, and you will if you keep reading, you will be both impressed and inspired.

Three lessons that I believe apply to all of us who are attempting to build businesses that will not only succeed but will be of great value to others and flourish in the future are, as follows….   

Have a bigger vision than you can realize in your life-time…. 

It is interesting to consider that Walt wasn’t alive to see the opening of Walt Disney World, or any of the other Disney properties outside of California, but the vision that he formed has continued to grow and thrive in the 50+ years since his passing. When he first welcomed people to Disneyland, he said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world”. His legacy has, and will continue, to impact people all over the world. I believe we should all have a vision that may not be completed in our own lifetime. We can certainly have goals or milestones to achieve, but, as Walt said, “Think beyond your lifetime if you want to do something truly great”. If you have a vision, share it with the people in your company so that it becomes part of your culture. Train and empower them to move your vision forward and have processes in place to keep everyone on the same page. Your vision can be realized, even if you aren’t there to witness it. 

Be flexible and keep an eye out for opportunities…. 

If you spend some time tracing the path from where Walt started out drawing cartoons, to where the Disney juggernaut is today, you will find that it grew and evolved significantly over the years. However, it was a logical progression. Every new effort and innovation built upon what had been learned and created previously, in a truly elegant fashion. He may have shifted gears, but he never really changed direction. Some milestones along this path included:

• Cartoons

• Short Films

• Full Length Films

• Merchandising

• Publishing

• Live action films

• Television

• Radio

• Theme Parks

• Sports teams

• Broadway shows

• Cruise Lines

Walt said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. I’m sure he didn’t foresee the full impact of what “started with a mouse”, but he was always dreaming and searching for ways to realize those dreams. “I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true”. That approach was clearly carried forward by those who followed after him.

Don’t give up when things get tough….

Walt experienced many failures and set-backs during his life, including a number of failed businesses, but he never gave up. His attitude was “The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting”. In fact, he embraced the philosophy of many successful entrepreneurs that you can learn more from your failures than from your successes and if you never fail, you probably aren’t reaching your full potential. The foundation of growth is to attempt new things and push yourself to new limits. Walt said, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you”. Remember that “setbacks” are often “set-ups” for greater accomplishments.

We enjoyed very good weather in Orlando for the first couple weeks of our vacation. The last week brought a fair amount of rain. So, we chose to take in a couple of movies in the Disney Springs area. The first movie we saw was The Black Panther. I expect you have already seen this movie but if not, you should stop reading now so I don’t spoil it for you. T’Challa, the king of Wakanda is challenged by a bitter cousin, Killmonger, for the throne in ritual combat. T’Challa is defeated and could have yielded to admit defeat and end the challenge but didn’t and was cast down over a waterfall, presumably to his death. When he returns in the third act, he confronts Killmonger and states, “I didn’t yield, and I didn’t die, so the fight is not over”. Note to self – although we can’t necessarily control how long we have on this earth, while we are here, have a big vision, watch for opportunities, don’t yield and always keep fighting for what you believe. 

I will leave you with one final Walt quote that we can all benefit from, no matter what our visions, dreams and goals include. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”

Till next month…..let’s start doing.