Drop the Excuses – There is Always a Way

by Alli Polin on January 25, 2013

Drop the Excuses - With Leadership and Creativity there is always a way

You want to make something happen?  Then do it.  Lose the excuses.  Be creative.  Be persistent and be just a little bit crazy.  The little bit crazy will stop you from giving up when other people tell you your dreams are too big.  They’re wrong, you know.  No dream is too big; it’s the fear that’s too big if you let it stop you from going for it.

A Case In Point

This past summer I moved from my cushy Washington DC suburb to the Australian Outback.  Picture Australia and mentally put your finger right in the middle of the country.  That’s where I live, in the Red Centre, the desert.  We do have a river here though; it’s called the Todd River.  It’s no surprise that about 95% of the year it’s actually a dry riverbed.  This is the desert after all.

Here are the surprises:

  • Alice Springs has a Yacht club that has successfully competed in several races around Australia
  • We have a major boating event here every year, The Henley on Todd Regatta
  • The Regatta attracts over 4,000 spectators to a town with a total population of 28,000
  • If there is water in the riverbed, the Regatta is cancelled

The Henley on Todd Regatta has over 15 events ranging from boogie boarding, to kayaking to yachting.  It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.   The boats are bottomless and are carried by teams of people as they run through the dry river.  It’s silly and serious competition all at once.

In 1962 a small group of people from the town were tired of thinking that living in the desert was a reason they can’t do what they love – race boats.  It’s amazing that not  only did they think that a boat race would be a great idea, but also the local Rotary club decided to help them bring the idea to life.  According to the website:

“The fact that the town was 1,500 km’s from the nearest largest body of water was never seen as a problem.”

If a small town in the middle of the desert can put on a nationally recognized regatta, you can definitely overcome some of the barriers to success that you’re facing as you bring your vision to reality.

How did Alice find a way and how can you?

Creativity:  Instead of accepting circumstances on face value, ask “What If?”  Start brainstorming and build on ideas until they are so big and over the top that there are seeds of potential ready to be culled and planted.

Determination: Tap into your passion and want it enough that hard work won’t make you want to turn away.  When you turn up the volume on your passion, it enables you to cancel out the noise from naysayers.

Community: Enroll people in your vision.  Paint the picture for them, make it so real that you can almost touch it.  Create a community of champions that rally around your vision and desire.

Teamwork: You don’t have to do it alone!  Find your network, your people that you can lay it on the line with and in return they’ll be honest, support, help and guide you.

Crazy: Don’t forget the dash of crazy that helps you to see what’s possible when others only see what is in front of them today.

Your vision, your creativity, your crazy, along with your hard work, is going to create a remarkable tomorrow.

If there can be boat races in the desert, what’s stopping you from upping your game and making some big time waves?  Splash me with the vision you want to bring to life in the comments below and get on your way to making it a reality.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Brown January 25, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Creativity…Passion…Crazy – sign me up… The world has changed and the days of getting a job at IBM for 30 years, getting the clock and retiring are OVER… We all need to think big and design plans for the future… We deserve it for ourselves and the folks we lead…Inspiring post – thanks…


alli January 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Thanks, Mike! I couldn’t have said it better. We each need to create the future and without creativity and some crazy thrown in the mix we’ll simply be wondering why we can’t have what the generations before us had with the safety and security of a predictable career.

Within organizations, leaders that understand that innovation is a hard path to walk without the team and organization by their side, are the ones that thrive.


Jon Mertz January 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

Wonderful points, Alli. If we want something, we just need to jump in and do the work. A little craziness always keeps in interesting while giving us the “guts” to jump in. Great points. Thanks! Jon


alli January 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Great way to say it: Giving us the guts to jump in. Some of the best, most inspiring work I’ve ever done had not been done before. My team an I found new ways to creatively challenge ourselves to see new approaches to old problems and delivered huge value.

Thanks, Jon!


Julie January 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Flintstone boats… I love it!

If you’re going to be innovative you have to not listen to all the people who say it can’t be done. Leave it to the Aussies to live up to the challenge.


alli January 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Julie – You’re right! They do look just like Flintstone boats! When I went to the event a few months ago I was really inspired to go for my own dreams. Naysayers are noise that we let chip away at our resolve.

Yes, the Aussies are truly amazing! 🙂


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