How you react to adversity is a crucial indicator to business success, but it’s an even more important factor in life. Literally from the day he was born, Tony Burns learnt he had two options, ‘you can see it as a positive or a negative’.
Tony is the CEO of Helping People Achieve (HPA), a non-Government, not-for-profit organisation based in Darwin. HPA helps people with physical and mental disabilities to develop their confidence, independence and life skills to lead a fulfilled life, though employment.
Humbly, Tony admits, “one of the proudest moments in my life was when HPA was the first charity organisation to be named Telstra Business of the Year.” This was in 2016, the first year a Charity category was included in the Awards.
This would not have happened had Tony not learnt early on how to put a positive spin on those moments in life which force many to quit. Refusing to let adversity dominate him was what led Tony to virtually end the career of one of Australia’s greatest tennis players, and it also helped him beat odds of two hundred and fifty million to one to meet a boyhood hero.
It was an attitude instilled in him on the day he was born. To quote Tony, “I was born at 4:45am; Mum was exhausted but ecstatic and the doctors were packing up when out popped Wayne.” It transpired that neither the doctors nor his mother had any idea she was pregnant with twins.
That was in 1977 when ultrasounds weren’t as common as they are today, and “to everyone’s shock, suddenly there were two of us. We were both put on life support, but unfortunately Wayne lasted only twenty-four hours.