This summer a family of beavers moved to our river, about 1km upstream from my place. They promptly took to gnashing down trees to build a dam. No sooner was it up and we had a big rainfall, which washed most of the dam downriver. They built it again. It washed away again. This has gone on for months now, but they never give up (as I write, the beavers are damless).

“Never, never, never give up” are the words written with a Sharpie on the dash of a single occupant ocean crossing boat I came across in Antigua. It stands to reason that when you’re all alone out there in the middle of the ocean, with just as much water in front of you as behind, that giving up just isn’t an option.

Does the name Stephen Hawking ring a bell? Theoretical physicist, world renowned author and speaker … the man who brought us black holes and quantum gravity was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and told he had only a few years to live. He’s 58 today, completely paralyzed and no longer able to talk. He can’t move, but he continues to think, live, teach and write. Something tells me the words ‘never give up’ have always been part of his vocabulary.

I’ve come to know many incredible fundraisers throughout my career. And while they have different backgrounds, interests, specialties, skills and passions, there is one commonality that runs through them all – a pioneering spirit … the desire to forge ahead, break new ground, meet new people and to never give up.

The beavers, the sailor and Mr. Hawking are some of my ‘never give up’ mentors. Who are yours?