31/10/2011

By Marcus Leach

At some stage in our lives we have all been faced by at least one situation where the odds are stacked against us, where the prospect of succeeding is but a sliver of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Yet there are those of us who, despite failure seeming the most likely option, find a way to succeed and to overcome adversity.

Lara Morgan is one of these people, driven to succeed over the past thirty years, no matter the obstacles in her way. A combination of old adages from her parents, and an unfortunate family incident, developed in her a mindset that simply said 'I will never settle to be average, and I will never fail'.

"I was brought up with old fashioned values," explains Morgan. "'If at first you don't succeed, try and try again'. On top of that, something that has always motivated me was the fact that my dad went bankrupt when I was eighteen. I remember how disruptive it was, and how much pain it caused. That was a huge driver, as he failed and my mind set from then on was 'I am not going to fail'."

Since that fateful day Morgan has gone on to become a hugely successful businesswomen with her international business Pacific Direct, not to mention an international triathlete after just one year in the sport, and all because she has had the will power to forge ahead when many others would have turned the obstacle into a convenient excuse.

"There's no question that, in business terms, that the hardest part of the journey was 9/11," Lara says. "We had a year when hospitality was in the toilet because of September 11th. The threat of oncoming war, combined with SARS in Asia and Foot and Mouth in the UK devastated the hospitality industry. I had to let go of 30% of my team and that was horrifically energising time of my life and business.

"At the same time we had entered the American market, and I was sued for $1.2 million by a major player there, simply to keep me out of the industry. We were sued and it was the whole nine yards. It was absolutely horrific. We won, however it cost $270,000 of legal fees that I had to ultimately find the cash for. But I refused to let that stop me."

Despite all she has achieved — selling Pacific Direct for £20 million in 2008 — Morgan remains humble and willing to share her wealth of knowledge with others. She still maintains the determined mindset that sets her apart, and once again it comes back to the philosophy instilled in her by her parents all those years ago.

"I was brought up to believe whatever you put into life, you always get more out," she says. "That is a cast iron fact in my opinion. Whatever it is you tackle, the upside of what you put into life always far outreaches the down side. I want to be remembered, and these may be old fashioned values, but I want to be remembered for having always done my best, and never to have been average."


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Lara Morgan will be speaking at Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! 2011 on 15th November. Book now at www.freshbusinessthinkinglive.com Plus, we have ten free tickets to give away for the event - just drop an email to events@freshbusinessthinking.com saying why you want to attend, to be in with a chance of winning.