Martin Brown has developed an amazing global business designing and manufacturing custom-built all-terrain powered wheelchairs with great success over the past 15 years. It was a business born out of necessity as in 1997 Martin broke his neck and became paralysed to the C4 level a quadriplegic, only being able to move his head.
The accident motivated him to produce for himself, then later for customers worldwide, a series of custom-designed and built innovative new wheelchairs – and as a result he has won several entrepreneurial achievement awards along the way.
Martin was born in Cape Town, South Africa. His interests after high school led him firstly into the engineering field and thereafter, into the medical field. He achieved National Colours in Acrobatics and was a member of the Acrobatic Federation of South Africa as well as being a Provincial Colours Athlete and a Professional Ballroom and Latin Dancer, yet in his second year of medical studies, Martin was injured in a freak diving accident which changed his life path forever.
Afterwards, calling fully on his engineering background, which combined with his medical experience, Martin forcefully took charge of circumstances and began to climb the entrepreneurial ladder through personal experience to become the successful, award-winning businessman he is today.
My Definition Of Success | I have noticed that many people try to measure success by the status of their bank account, yes, I even did that. But the truth is wealth is not a measure of success, and my outlook has changed over the years. Success to me personally, is rather how I use my life skills to influence and change the lives of others, be it with my company building custom power wheelchairs for customers all around the world, or as a professional speaker, sharing my ideas and experiences in business and life. In the end success is you and for you, it is how you live your life to the fullest.
I Am Driven By | The fear of failure! This is my greatest driving force, I don’t want to reflecting back on my life one day and think that I could have done it better. We are going to fail now and then, and the only way to learn from failure, is to stand up and try again and again until you succeed. If you do not have goals and will never fail, then you will never succeed! We can only learn from failure. Your driving force is directly proportional to your desire to reach your goal.
A Key Talent | I would say that the one aspect of my character that is my greatest strength, is tenacity. I am like a bull-terrier; I will persevere and fight until I reach success. By achieving anything in life or in business I believe in a three-step plan to reaching the deciding factor that defines you: Focus, Choice and Action. A keynote I present on as well.
Focus: In today’s break-neck ever-changing business environment, as well as in life, we are all faced with factors that are out of our control, issues like crime, load-shedding, the weakening Rand, corporate politics and general unfairness. Factors that we have no control over! When we focus on those factors, we lose our power.
When we focus on what we CAN control, on the areas we CAN change – our power increases exponentially. And we start to see the results almost immediately, so focus on the things you CAN control in life.
Choice: Choices consist of the many options that we are presented with but we are only allowed to choose one of them. There is not an hour that goes by where we do not have to choose; red or blue, black or white … let’s face it almost every aspect of our lives today is made up of choices.
You can choose to meander forth or you can choose to unleash that incredible human potential that lurks in every single one of us. There is a reason why the easy way is easy, because its only reward is that it is easy. I chose to grow and succeed in everything I can possibly still do, it is only then that I realised what I can still do and the lives I can change.
Action: The state or process of acting or doing, this is the stage when you take that choice you made and to act upon it. Do not think that action is the last step, for sometimes we will need to step back and focus again, re-evaluate our choices and maybe change our plan of action. Success is an ongoing circle of focus, choice and action.
The Characteristics Of Success | I personally have an unhealthy obsession with achieving my goals. Most people try and set one big goal and try and reach it, and it always becomes a life struggle and then they start losing focus on the actual goal. It is good to have a big goal but in order to reach your goal you need to have smaller mini goals, don’t try and cross the river with one giant leap, rather jump from stone to stone to stone until you reach the other side.
To reach a certain amount of success in life you need to be tenacious, uphold good morals and be prepared to work twice as hard as anybody else. I once read that the only difference between successful people and ordinary people is the amount of time they allocate to entertainment.
Principles I Live By | Say what you mean and mean what you say. You might lose everything in this world, but always remember nobody can ever take away your integrity. That is the strongest single most important characteristic in any person. If you uphold integrity throughout your life and your business, you can only succeed.
Critical Skills I Develop | Learn from other people’s mistakes! Yes you are going to make some mistakes of your own but if you can learn from others you will make fewer mistakes. When you make a mistake, use it as a learning opportunity, a life without mistakes is a life not lived. Fill your mind with as much knowledge as you possibly can. With today’s technology there is so much information that is publicly available for you to absorb and learn from.
How I Use My Mind | You never finish a day without knowing what you are going to do the next day. At my factory I have black boards painted all over the walls, so that my employees can write down what they need to do tomorrow. If you wake up in the morning not knowing what you are going to do today, then you are going to wake up someday wishing you can go back to yesterday.
Lessons I Have Learnt | I’ve always worked on the principle that the customer is always right, but that is simply not true! Nobody is always right but everybody is always a customer. Always treat people, employees and customers as you would want to be treated under the same circumstances.
Dealing With Doubt | The main word here is fear; everything else falls under fear the negativity, self-doubt, failure etc. Fear is only an emotion it cannot kill you, once you realise it is only a word then nothing will ever stop you again.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I have so many my mind is continuously active with new ideas and dreams, but there are two great new projects our company is working on that will dramatically change the lives of disabled people. Soon they will be able to control their entire environment by voice activation only. This will give them so much freedom and independence again.
Then I am also planning my second company that will involve job creating, environmentally friendly, recycling and cleaning up our cities… But more about that later.
As a professional inspirational business speaker, I travel all over presenting to corporate of all levels on how I took a start-up company to a multi-million Rand International Corporation with a stick in my mouth, instilling the theory that nothing is impossible!
The Meaning Of Life | I believe that we were put on this earth for two main reasons, to learn and to apply what we have learned by serving.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | My lecturer once told me “beware of the toes you stand on today for they might support the butt you need kiss tomorrow.” Basically meaning, do not make unnecessary enemies on your journey toward success because you never know when you might have to take a step backwards and rely on their support.
Advice On Building Wealth | If your sole purpose in life is to grow rich and build wealth then you are pretty much going to have a meaningless life. First build your legacy, then from there, wealth will come.
On Inspiring Others | Your employees should never work for you but always with you, a disgruntled employee is usually an employee that doesn’t feel appreciated. In my companies I always include my employees in my projects, I ask the advice and give them the freedom to be creative with ideas that they might have. You are not your company, your employees are.
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