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How To Turn A Health Scare Into A Successful Business.

February 24, 2011

Within our every day lives, things randomly happen that seem like the end of the world. Your Blackberry stops working, you forgot that important file on the train or your computer crashes right before a big meeting. For any business professional this can make the day seem unbearable. As bad as all those added stressors may seem, it can always be worse. A lot worse. My newly adopted life motto is, you deal with the cards your dealt and do your best to turn the bad into something great. So you can imagine my enchantment when I read in article in USA Today about cancer survivors who used their experience to fuel their businesses. The article  highlights the stories of five cancer survivors who, faced with the possibility of death, transitioned their endurance and strength during the darkest of moments into their own successful business ventures. These five courageous people compiled 6 tips on the lessons they learned during their trying times.

  1. Use Your Energy Wisely. Don’t let what’s taking you down keep you there. According to Loren Bril, a cancer survivor, “You can take that energy and turn it into sadness and depression, or you can let it drive and empower you”.
  2. Build On Prior Accomplishments. Tom Bonney, who survived cancer and a heart attack, used a step-by-step path towards his physical and financial recovery. Even though chemotherapy left Tom Bonney drained, he still walked each day and made it a goal to get a little further than the previous day. He applied this same mentality when rebuilding his business after its economic downfall.
  3. Marsh All Resources. When things seem to be at their absolute worst, you need to muster all the energy and resources you have available to make things work. Valerie Orsoni, a cervical cancer survivor, utilized every resource available to get better saying, “You don’t want to try to recover, you want to succeed”. She used that same approach towards her two web-based businesses.
  4. Enjoy Your Profession. When faced with a health scare you start to think about the things that matter most. Ask yourself, when you wake up in the morning are you happy to go to work? Do you love what you do? Life is short and precious, so make sure what you do for a living is generating a fulfilling life.
  5. Have Faith & Know Your Strength.  You know that saying, things happen for a reason, well sometimes they really do. For Ramy Gafni, who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, losing his job while battling cancer allowed him to start his own business (which is now among the top 20 in his field). Gafni stated, “Know while you’re going through the adversity that it will most likely propel you to something better”. Another great and inspiring quote came from Loren Bril saying, “We’re powerful. We can really leave an imprint on the world and people”. If you never lose faith, you never lose hope and with those two things you can accomplish anything no matter how large the obstacles seem to be.
  6. Give Back. Cancer survivor or not, we all have something we can give back to. Whether its our local Boys and Girls Club or ASPCA, giving back to causes that are dear to our hearts may not directly build your business, but it makes you a person that other’s are inspired by. For those cancer survivors highlighted in USA Today, giving back to those battling the same cancer they survived has humbled them. The strength and power they found within themselves, has given them a positive outlook and perspective not only on life but in the successful business they now own.  That’s something we could all learn from.

My hat goes off not only to those people mentioned earlier, but to all survivors of life threatening issues who found light in even the darkest of places. At GAI ( we would love to hear about the successful practices you have used for your small business. Let us make things easier by handling all your tax and bookkeeping needs, so you can spend more time building your brand. Remember, giving back to your community isn’t just for the soul, it helps the pocket too. Find out about what charitable deductions apply to you this tax season by giving us a call at 212-979-6830. We are open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm so feel free to stop by.

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