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Make the impossible possible

I have a friend who is a former member of the intelligence unit of an elite military force. 

This is a secret technology unit who build and supply cutting-edge technologies to soldiers and spies.

It is the most decorated unit in the country.

Their motto is simple: “Make the impossible possible.”

And they have a singular rule that they drum into every new recruit: “No comparing.”

The veterans of that unit have gone on to found 50 technology companies, with accumulated valuations over $10 billion.

If you help people believe that nothing is impossible, surround them with high-performers—and remind them not to compare themselves with others—they’ll accomplish extraordinary things… 

I have a colleague who coached Felix Baumgartner through his record-breaking jump from a helium balloon, over 24 miles above the Earth. 

He traveled from the edge of space, at 843.6 mph and became the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall.

The jump was the culmination of years of work by an elite team. But the truth is, at the moment Felix jumped, no one knew if he would survive. Such a jump had never been done before. 

Coaching entrepreneurs and executives can be challenging. Living the rollercoaster of business can even feel like life or death. But when my friend sat next to Felix’s mother, in the control room, as he jumped that day, neither of them knew whether or not he’d survive the jump. 

That’s truly coaching at the edge of possibility. 

As Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

I was fortunate to meet Dr. Kimmie Weeks, when I took a group of coaches to Liberia, a few years ago. He’s a human rights activist and politician.

He shared his childhood story with us and he moved the entire room to tears… 

Kimmie was just 9 years old when he experienced the first Liberian Civil War. 

His family were forced to leave their home and marched to a refugee camp. 

While in the camp, he became deathly ill. He was dehydrated due to cholera, he contracted chickenpox and also jaundice.

There were no doctors, no nurses and no medicine in the camp. So, when the refugees could no longer detect a pulse, they told his mother that he had died. 

Against her objections, Kimmie was thrown, barely alive, onto a huge piles of dead bodies in the refugee camp.

His mother refused to accept that he was dead. 

She searched and searched until she found his body and resuscitated him by beating his chest and shaking him until he regained consciousness. 

That night, the weak but alive Kimmie vowed to dedicate the rest of his childhood and adult life to making the world a better place for children.

Dr. Kimmie Weeks has worked to alleviate poverty and human suffering in Africa and around the world since he was fourteen years old.

When he was 16, he organised a campaign to disarm child soldiers in the civil war. This led to the liberation of 20,000 child soldiers.

As a result of his research on the Liberian government’s involvement in the training of children as soldiers, the Liberian President Charles Taylor made several attempts to assassinate Kimmie, until he fled Liberia and was granted political asylum in the United States. 

Dr. Kimmie Weeks has received national and international awards for supporting the needs of more than 200,000 people in six post-war African countries.

His organizations have provided education to thousands of students in West Africa, lobbied for the disarmament of tens of thousands of child soldiers, and provided rehabilitation, training and employment opportunities to youth who have been affected by war.  

Sometimes our deepest pain becomes the fodder we need to accomplish the impossible. 

In the novel, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, there’s a moment when Alice meets the Queen:

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying. One can’t believe impossible things.” 

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen.

“When I was your age, I did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Summary

  1. Nothing is impossible. 
  2. The deeper you dive into this community, the more you are surrounded by high-performers, doing impossible things. 
  3. Stop comparing yourself (to others, to the goals you set yourself, and to where you think you should be by now). 
  4. Whatever you want to create next, you are far closer than you think. 
  5. If it doesn’t seem impossible, maybe you aren’t yet dreaming big enough… 

Love. Rich 

 

 

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