I am an entrepreneur, defined by the Webster dictionary as “A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture”. Do you know how many times I wake up in the morning ready to give up? How many times I question myself about this idea and if it’s going to ever take off? I have to say that the path I have chosen is not an easy one. I also have to say that the passion and love that I have for what I do is what keeps me going in times that I see no light at the end of the tunnel.
The story I share with you below was a good reminder of the many times we entrepreneurs quit too soon.
It’s about this Norwegian Doctor, Anna Bågenholm, in 1999 while skiing with 2 other Doctors in Narvik, Norway she sled down a steep, icy gully head first in a mostly frozen stream. Meanwhile she was trapped her friends did everything possible to rescue her. The natural forces of a torrent of frigid spring runoff pouring over them, made it almost impossible to rescue her friend from the hole where she was submerged.
But they didn’t stop there, love kept them going and looking for ways to save the life of her friend. They acted fast and within moments of asking for help, the rescuers arrived, they cut a hole from where Bågenholm was trapped and pulled her through the opening. By then she had been under the ice for over 2 hours. They all thought she was dead.
But “hope” was not about to check out from this tragic day.
Waiting for her at the helipad was Dr. Mad Gilbert head of the emergency medicine.
“She has completely dilated pupils. She is ashen, flaxen white. She’s wet. She’s ice cold when I touch her skin, and she looks absolutely dead,” Gilbert said. “On the ECG [electrocardiogram], which the doctor on the helicopter has connected her to, there is a completely flat line. Like you could have drawn it with a ruler. No signs of life whatsoever. And the decision was made. We will not declare her dead until she is warm and dead.”
They rushed her to an operating room, were surgeons warmed up Bågenholm’s blood by rerouting it through a heart-lung machine. More than three hours had passed after her heart stopped, Gilbert recalled watching the video probe of Bågenholm’s heart.
“It was standing completely still. No movement. I just saw some little shivering. No fibrillation. And suddenly it contracted. Pssh,” Gilbert said, squeezing his fists to mimic a beating heart. “And there was a pause and pssh. A second contraction.” Gilbert tears up at the memory.
Bågenholm was alive! Although months of recovery lay ahead and she was paralyzed for almost a year until her damaged nerves healed. It does not opaque the fact that they never lost hope, they fought until the end and gave Bågenholm the opportunity to be here with us as a radiologist at the hospital where she was saved.
Næsheim, who is on the helicopter emergency medical team there, says the lesson from Bågenholm’s case is clear.
“It’s the three important things about emergency medicine, which is never give up, never give up, never give up. Because there’s always hope.”
I will say this is also true in our daily life as entrepreneurs. How many times do we give up too soon, there is always hope and ways to make things work. Being an Entrepreneur is not an easy task, but it pays off to fight until the end, regardless how dead our dream looks. Keep going, reach for help and don’t give up.
Photo by Likerender