By Brian Mitchell, CEO & Managing Partner

Ever heard of Marlana Vanhoose? Neither had I until this past weekend. Marlana is a sixteen-year- old girl who recently gave an amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to open a University of Kentucky women’s basketball game. In the era of American Idol, we’ve all seen some amazing young singing talents, however Marlana’s controlled range and powerful voice are truly unique. Even more remarkable is Marlana is blind and autistic. Here is a child singing in front of thousands of people, an experience that would make most adults very nervous, yet this kid was laser focused on her performance and crushed it.

She was born with Cytomeglovirus (CMV) and by the time she was only a few weeks old it was discovered that she was blind. Her optic nerve never formed. Due to the virus, she wasn’t expected to live past one year. So she’s had to fight for herself since her first days. I wondered what sort of challenges she and her family have faced in that first year before the virus healed. I wondered what sort of challenges they’ve overcome in her subsequent fifteen years.

Here is a child that wasn’t supposed to be here, who can’t see, with intellectual disabilities, demonstrating how talent and relentless determination can beat anything. ANYTHING!

Do you think Marlana even recognizes words like “difficult” or “can’t” or “impossible”? Now apply this mindset to whatever professional challenges you face. Do you have the unwavering desire to achieve your goals like Marlana does? Even if you don’t have the “how” figured out yet, will you stop until you reach your objectives? I’d bet Marlana and her parents didn’t have a fully baked plan when she was born either so don’t let that prevent you from achieving success. Didn’t get the funding? Find another way. Didn’t get the promotion? Find another way. Whatever is in your way is only an obstacle, not the end of the road. If Marlana can beat her challenges, you can certainly beat yours. Get it done.

Here is a link to Marlana’s inspiring video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/blind-teen- sings-anthem_n_3139691.html.