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Why Franchisors Need to Adopt Austin Hatch’s Mindset for Success

After surviving two plane crashes and the loss of his family, the former Michigan Wolverines basketball player and motivational speaker has not stopped striving for success.

The COVID-19 crisis has had lasting effects on businesses across the country. Everywhere, business owners are fighting to keep a positive mindset and see the light at the end of the tunnel. For individuals who are struggling right now, Austin Hatch has a truly remarkable story that can act as a beacon of hope and an example of how emotional and physical perseverance can overcome unthinkable tragedy. 

The former Michigan Wolverines player has been through more trauma than most people will see in their lifetimes. “The way I think of it is that I’ve had two really bad days in my life,” he said. “When I was 8 years old my family was involved in a plane crash that tragically claimed the lives of my mother, sister and brother. My father and I survived, and over the next nine years, I worked hard to follow my dreams, eventually earning a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Michigan in 2011. Unfortunately, nine days after signing a contract with my dream school, my family and I were involved in a second plane crash in which my father and step-mother passed away and I was put into a coma.”

As Hatch notes, he didn’t have control over the unimaginable events that happened to him in life, but he did have the ability to choose how to respond. After waking up from the coma, Hatch refused to give up and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan, marry his dream girl and start a job in the Domino’s corporate office. Now, the 25-year-old has embarked on a public speaking career.

“There is no substitute for perseverance, and if we attack our issues and adversity with the right mindset, we can survive anything,” said Hatch. “It is important to remember that everyone is dealing with a battle of their own. Sure, maybe my story may have been more traumatic than most people’s, but we can all choose to respond the right way. While the details of each situation may be different, we should all face obstacles with the same mindset. Our struggles don’t define us — they are an opportunity to overcome setbacks and turn negatives into positives.”

During times like this, Hatch notes how important it is to compete against ourselves instead of others in order to keep pushing our limits, overcoming obstacles and adapting to new problems. For many, the COVID-19 crisis has presented an opportunity to slow down and reflect on what is important in order to make important shifts in personal attitude and actions. 

“Even though I couldn’t actually be a contributing player for the University of Michigan due to my injuries, I never gave up and was still able to honor my scholarship and join the team,” said Hatch. “It was difficult and I came in dead last while running sprints every time, but I decided to do everything I could to give a little extra, motivate my peers and benefit the organization overall.”

In addition to pushing his limits to succeed, Hatch said he’d never have been able to make it to where he is today without his support system. “Whether in restaurants, business or sports, our teammates are more important than anything,” he said. “Lean on those relationships during these times and remember that a rising tide lifts all boats.” 

Now, as states start to reopen and businesses begin serving customers again, brands will need to adapt to the new normal if they want to thrive. “Keeping the machine running is important, but no business owners want to simply stay afloat long-term,” said Hatch. “There is no reason not to adopt a mindset of success — make the decision to do everything you can as a business owner to attack challenges head on. They told me I’d be in the hospital for six months after my coma, but I made the decision to work harder and get out in two months.”

Once business owners make it through to the other side of this crisis, they will have created an unprecedented blueprint for overcoming future struggles. As Hatch notes, he still has bad days, but nothing compares to the obstacles he has overcome. For those who approach this crisis the right way, it will provide the tools, lessons and best practices needed to succeed down the road. 

As the world emerges from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Hatch’s remarkable story offers insights into how business owners and individuals can come to terms  with the uncertainty of today. “Just like there is no playbook for surviving a plane crash, there is no playbook for dealing with this crisis,” he said. “The unknown can be scary, but right now, business owners across the world are proving everyone wrong and writing the playbook in real time in order to set the example of how to survive something like this.”

Overall, Hatch’s biggest takeaway is that we don’t have to allow external circumstances to define our future. Since everyone in the world is dealing with this crisis in real time, the right mentality presents a true advantage for business owners and individuals alike. Although it may sound simple, the key is making a decision to succeed and doing everything possible to achieve that goal.

“It is important to be thankful for the journey,” said Hatch. “While there will always be difficult days, if we learn to overcome hardship, it will help us achieve things we never thought possible. Find a way to turn a negative into a positive — how we approach one thing is our lives is how we approach everything. If I can overcome my adversity and succeed, anyone can.”