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Should you eat an airplane just because you can?

Business lessons from a guy who chowed down a Cessna


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Thirty-five years ago, Frenchman Michel Lotito became famous for eating a Cessna 150. Yep, he ate the whole thing: wings, tires, windows, seats, engine--everything. It took him two years, but he got the whole thing down, and I'm assuming, out.

On a tech forum in 2001, someone recounted the story, and the first response was, "Uh okay … but why an airplane?" Which leads us to two really important business lessons we should learn from eating an airplane.

#1 Hard stuff is rarely impossible

You can do anything one bite at a time.

Born prematurely at 4.5 pounds, Wilma Rudolph took her first steps at 8 years old, after suffering for years from polio. She went on to become the fastest woman alive and the first to win three Olympic gold medals.

At 16, Chris Zane convinced his parents to let him take over a bike shop going out of business, borrowing $23,000 from his grandfather at 15 percent interest. This year, 30 years later, he expects Zane's Cycles to bring in $21 million.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses stopped embroidering at age 76 when her hands became too crippled to hold a needle. With no formal training or education, she took up painting and became one of the most famous and acclaimed painters in history, Grandma Moses.

Ray Kroc started franchising McDonald's at the age of 59. Colonel Sanders franchised KFC at 62.

A lot of personal and business accomplishments defy the possible. Stop whining about what you think you can't do. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right." Take one step at a time. Keep going. Don't give up.

#2 Pick something worth doing before you start

just to have someone ask, "Uh, ok … but why an airplane?" Business is hard enough. Don't make it harder by continuing to beat your head against the wall to do things that, in the end, won't matter. Choose wisely. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Michel Lotito died at the age of 57 of "natural causes." Uh-huh. Eating an airplane is a bad idea.

When setting out to do something, always make sure you askboth the following questions.

1) Is it possible? (It almost always is.)
2) Should I do it? (What is the possible reward?)

Lotito only asked the first one. Don't make that mistake.

Put your hand to what others think is impossible, but make sure it's worth doing first.

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Chuck Blakeman

Chuck Blakeman is a best-selling business author and world-renown business advisor who has built eight businesses in seven industries on four continents and now uses his leadership experience to advise others. His company, Colorado-based Crankset Group, provides outcome-based mentoring and peer advisory for business leaders worldwide in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia.

Mr. Blakeman is a results leader, and has decades of sales, marketing and operations experience leading companies in marketing, import/export, fulfillment, call centers, website development, printing and direct mail processing. His first book, “Making Money is Killing Your Business”, was named #1 Business Book of the Year by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the largest business owner association in America. His newest book, "Why Employees are ALWAYS a Bad Idea", has already been named a Top Ten Business Book of the Year and is required reading at the University of Georgia’s MBA Program.

Contact him through his Chief Relationship Officer, Krista Valentine, at krista@cranksetgroup.com.

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