In a plane above the Mediterranean Sea, Alon Ulman suddenly found he couldn’t breathe. After landing, he was rushed to hospital where his survival from a collapsed lung was deemed a medical miracle. Having almost died, Ulman began living life with a renewed perspective.
Despite the fact he’d only previously endured long hikes, he entered an Ironman Triathlon, one of the most difficult sporting events in the world, and of all places in the Arizona heat: “We all have our own Ironman inside,” says Alon. “The only difference between winners and the rest of us is how they act in the face of difficulties. They keep going. From the moment I crossed the finish line, I realised my life’s purpose: dedicating myself to exploring the DNA of practical success and making it accessible to people all over the world.”
Alon went on to become a best-selling author with Success is not a Fluke, which proved a smash-hit in Israel, staying in the bestseller list for 83 consecutive weeks. He has since helped over 250,000 individuals and businesses achieve their goals from Microsoft to Coca Cola and is a former mental coach to the Israeli national football team: “When Eli Gutman stepped up to manage the team, he asked me work with him and the players on their spirit and mindset. It was a great experience for me because I love football and I had great relationships with the players.”
Having served for more than 23 consecutive years in the Israeli navy as commander of a missile ship and head instructor of the prestigious Naval Officers’ School, Alon is confident his time in the IDF shaped his journey to success: “In an operation, you have to return with 100% results, or you might not return at all! You need to act as if failure is not an option, but in case be sure to have a plan B.”
In 1989, Alon was sent by the Israeli navy to participate in an anti-submarine warfare course, an experience which proved transformative: “I learned a great deal more than detecting and destroying submarines, I was taught etiquette and learned how to become an officer and a gentleman in the ways of the British Royal Navy. As an officer, you move up in rank each year, so, you develop a growth mentality, which is an important strategy for success in business life.”
Most Israelis serve in the military for three years from a young age, a factor which Alon passionately believes is a keystone to their unique business mindset we have much to learn from here in the UK: “Many Israeli startups are created by young people from elite units like 8200, who meet during their military service and base their businesses on shared knowledge.
“Israel as a country has been and still is under constant threat. Life here is dynamic with continual changes. There is no rest. Therefore, Israeli entrepreneurs know how to adjust to a fast-changing reality – an essential skill for success – and are aware of the need to constantly seek new and innovative solutions, which builds flexibility and agility.
“The Israeli mentality is one that calls for results not excuses, even if you do not have the resources. The best way to embed these skills and abilities in the UK is to add successful Israelis to your teams.”
Asked if he feels the pandemic has knocked entrepreneurial confidence, he replies: “The issue of confidence is not down to the pandemic. It is all about our internal resources, resilience and our ability to transform adversity into strength.”
Alon’s own business, The Winner’s Code, has been a prime example of this willingness to adapt. Pre-COVID, he held one seminar a week, He now holds seminars every evening for thousands of people from 20 different countries, expanding his reach to previously impossible heights: “The Winner’s Code was based entirely on a business model of face-to-face meetings and stage performances for thousands of people which crashed when large gatherings were prohibited. So, we could wait and pray, or take action. What we did was to adapt our activities to a digital platform. In that way, our curse became our blessing.”
Alon’s top tips to help you achieve your business goals…
- Create a winning picture for yourself, your family and business. Make it as bright and as vivid as you can. Think about three critical goals you need to achieve this and write them down.
- Create a supportive environment that will help you achieve your success. Keep in mind that you become like the people you surround yourself with, so spend time with people you aspire to.
- Invest in yourself and develop your abilities – you are the business. Go to seminars, read books, listen to audiobooks. When you grow 1%, your business grows 100%.
- What really stands between us and success is not whether we can achieve our goals but, rather are we willing to do what it takes to pay the price.
- Be an iron head torpedo – don’t listen to the naysayers. Self-motivation is key to success in all areas of your life.
Success is not a Fluke published by Watkins Publishing is released in the UK on 9th March.