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Chamber of Commerce Success … A Risky Business By Mark Turner, President/CEO, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce I n Valladolid, Spain, where Christopher Columbus died in 1506, stands a monument com- memorating the great discoverer. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the memorial is a statue of a lion at the base of it where the Spanish National Motto is engraved. The lion is reaching out with its paw and is destroying one of the Latin words that had been part of the Spain’s motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth. Thus, their motto was, “No More Beyond.” The word being torn away by the lion is, “No,” making it read, “More Beyond.” Columbus had proven that there was indeed “more beyond.” While many in that day thought they had reached their fullest poten- tial and had gone as far as they could go, Christopher Columbus came along and pushed the limits even further. His willingness to step outside the comfort zone and take risks encourages us to apply three leadership principles to our lives, teams and organizations. There’s More to Achieve if You Dare to Dream Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Set goals and consistently work toward achieving them. Let what’s 82 happened in the past help to motivate you toward achieving success and not become an excuse as to why you can never make it happen. Dream it and pursue it. You’ll be amazed at what can be done and what can be achieved. Accepting, “No,” as the Final Word Limits Success Anyone who has done a tour in professional sales knows it takes over- coming six to seven “no” responses from a potential customer in order to get the desired, “yes” answer. Many a salesperson has walked away after hearing “no” one time only, to leave the sale to a more determined competitor. Sadly, we often tell ourselves “no” before we get started in a new venture like writing a book, going for that big account, starting a business, expanding a product line, launching a non-profit organization or believing we’re deserving of success. Had Columbus subscribed to the Spanish National Motto and believed there was “No More Beyond,” he would have never been willing to take the risk necessary to achieve success. The word “no” leaves us with a choice, to accept it as the final word, or as an invitation to think differently. Jose Ortega y Gasset once said, “The stone and tiger have no choice of life: the stone must gravitate and the tiger must pounce. Only human beings are faced with the mind-blowing responsibility of having, at each and every moment of their lives, to choose GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 what to do and what to be. It is both a necessity and an invitation.” No Deposit, No Return - No Risk, No Reward Back in the day, people used to pay a deposit on their beverage bottles because they were so expensive to produce. Bottlers used a deposit-refund system which motivated people to return the bottles after use. In return, consumers received their deposits back. As time went on and bottles became less expensive to produce, the words “No Deposit – No Return” began appearing on bottles. No extra effort was required on the part of consumers to get some of their investment back. The “No Deposit, No Return” principle can be applied to many different things. No investment at the gym to lift weights or do cardio workouts, no personal health benefits; no investment in education, no advancement in one’s career; no time invested in others, no leadership development. At times it’s necessary to take risks whether in one’s personal or professional life. Blind leaps of faith are not the only requirement to achieving reward and success. Often times, “risk” decisions are made after thorough research and information gathering has occurred. Calculated risks can minimize negative outcomes but cannot always guarantee them. That’s what risk is about. As William H. Shedd once said, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for.”