Surviving

July 25th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Have you ever felt trapped in your business, to the point you know that impending doom is inevitable? I’ve experienced this feeling multiple times as an entrepreneur. Sadly, many times the feeling of doom manifested into reality and the business did fail. However, there have been a few times, under very tricky circumstances, where I was able to quickly move and migrate my business and we survived.

Today I encountered a situation through my travels in Peru that gave me great hope for the next time I encounter such a situation. There is a lake in the Andes Highlands named Lake Titicaca. This body of water is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. It is quite picturesque with Bolivia sitting on one side and Peru on the other. Now, some 500 years ago the Incas were terrorizing the lake’s indigenous people and impending doom was at hand for a little, peaceful village in an area called Puno. Rather than be destroyed some of their leaders had the courageous idea to float their boats out into a little reedy, secluded, sequestered area in Lake Titicaca and do something unexpected and ingenious.

I have no idea how they came up with the idea but their solution was to dive into the water and gather the roots of the lake’s reeds. From there they used the roots and reeds to build their own floating islands. The result? They were able to avoid and survive terrors and certain death from the Incas and prospered for the next 500 years. Today I visited one such sector called Uros Island. Fifty-two of these little individual islands surround each other. They’ve built boats that go back and forth between the islands made out of these reeds. They have living huts, elementary schools, community stores, and they even have a Post Office all on the water!

Today there are approximately one thousand natives that live on these little islands and they are some of the most prosperous people in the region. They don’t have alcohol and drug problems like some of the others in the region. They collect an $8 entry fee for every tourist that enters their region and they are a very industrious people. They continue to be survivors.

The encouragement given to me was when we find ourselves trapped we don’t have to stay that way. I am not suggesting we all go build our businesses on a lake made of reeds but I am instead proposing that we keep an open mind when it comes to business solutions. We don’t necessarily have to throw ourselves on a spear and die in a battle. We can protect our businesses and ourselves by creating our own unique solutions that bring our businesses to safer places.

This was a very refreshing and encouraging experience and I challenge you the next time you face what feels like impending doom to look for creative solutions.

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