The Importance of Adapting To Your Environment

Raymond McCrea Jones/The New York Times

Damien Lopez Alfonso knows what it is like to live an UnReasonable life.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, Damien was electrocuted at the age of 13 when he climbed a power line in Cuba, where he lives, to get an abandoned kite that was hanging from it.

Damien paid the price of losing most of his face and arms.

But he did not lose his spirit.

He had a passion for biking, and when he lost what most of us would think was impossible to recover from, he took that as a challenge: to be faster on a bike than any “normal” biker.

Because of his incredible determination and speed, Damien was recently discovered by the bike racing community.

But because he has no forearms, international regulations prevent Damien from competing.

So a growing community of bikers, doctors, friends and family from around the world has come together to raise money to get Damien prosthetics… and a new face here in NYC.  For the past several months, he has been undergoing intensive surgeries to reconstruct parts of his face and testing various prosthetics so he can bike with his arms.

If all goes according to plan, Damien will face one of the biggest challenges of his life in July, when he is hoping to participate in his first international race outside of Cuba.  This race is the first step to qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Damien is an example of someone who just doesn’t know how to quit or give up.  He is a master at being UnReasonable.

He is also someone who, from the age of 13, has successfully adapted to his new environment.

A few nights ago I was facilitating a group of 20 entrepreneurs here in NYC for the FastTrac Growth Venture program.

Most of the attendees had resisted adapting to the new economic, social and ecological environments they are facing today.

Things that worked in the not-so-distant past no longer do for many businesses.  And instead of adapting, many entrepreneurs are spending their time complaining or blaming.

Some are even in denial.

But there are steps they can take to help them adjust to the current environment:

  1. Market Analysis—determine today’s market for your product or service.  What has changed and why?
  2. S.W.O.T. Analysis—figure out your (internal) strengths and weaknesses and (external) opportunities and threats.
  3. Competition Analysis—ascertain what your competition is doing differently than you, how they are doing it and why.
  4. Features vs. Benefits—features tell, benefits sell.  Build your marketing message around the features while emphasizing the benefits.
  5. Competitive Advantage—leverage those features (and benefits) you feel are better than your competitors’.  Then find unique ways to communicate this to your target audience.
  6. Pricing—with the world economy completely different today than just a year or two ago, determine the best pricing model for your product/service:  low, high or parity.
  7. Marketing Strategy—build a powerful game plan to get your adjusted product/service to market.

When they get to a point where they are ready to try UnReasonable strategies to reinvent their businesses, almost anything is possible.

Just ask Damien Lopez Alfonso.


Action Steps for the Week:

What change are you resisting?  What do you find yourself either complaining about or resigned to?

Or perhaps afraid to change.

Take a look at the thing that you know needs to change.  To be UnReasonable, get clear on what your passion, your heart, is telling you to do, or where to go.

Then commit to making that change.  Get clear on what it is you want to create and then create a clear and measurable goal for yourself around it.

And make sure it is UnReasonable!

You owe it to yourself.