I was lucky to attend a talk by a man called Mark Pollock today in Dublin. Mark is completely blind, having lost his eyesight 10 years ago while he was a student in Trinity College.

This event would be traumatic for anyone, but Mark rebounded. In the intervening years, he has completed a Masters Degree in Business, ran six marathons in one week in the Gobi Desert, and has successfully endured a marathon run around the North Pole. He makes his living today as a professional speaker.

That’s guts for you.

Mark had three messages for us:

1) Accept as quickly as you can what you cannot do.

There’s no point looking backwards and pretending that you are still able for something when all the evidence suggests otherwise. Mark spent some time after going blind believing that he would soon get his sight back. Accepting that this would never happen was the key to him getting on with life.

2) Figure out what you can do and go and then do it.

Mark focused on the excuses people come up with that prevents them from making the key steps to improving their lives. All they see are the problems and not ways to get around these difficulties. In his case, the targets he set built on each other over time. By starting with relatively straightforward goals, he gained the confidence and ability he needed to work on more challenging objectives.

3) Don’t go it alone. Seek help.

Mark was explicit in identifying and utilising informal networks in order to get things done. For him, the really big achievements are rarely the work of a single individual. Trying to do everything by oneself is a recipe for failure. Others, who have been there before and who know the pitfalls and mistakes can be of immense value.

Mark’s message has really hit home for me. I would recommend Mark to anyone in a business or organisation who would like to learn from a truly inspirational speaker.