Monthly Archives May 2013


Focus, Passion, & Determination

Sixteen years ago, when her kids were two and four, Sara (real person, real name) was given the distressing diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Sara turned to her to oncologist, looked him in the eyes, and demanded, “You HAVE to keep me alive to see my kids graduate from high school.”

The doctor responded, “That’ll be our goal.”

Following a tough treatment regimen, Sara regained her health, and her lively, loving, funny, and outrageous personality. She’s what many of us would call “a pistol.” Sara was not about to let her illness derail her life.

Ten years after the first diagnosis, Sara suffered a relapse. Once again she lectured her oncologist, “You HAVE to keep me alive to see my kids graduate from high school.”

The doctor responded, “That’ll be our goal.”

Once again, Sara recovered and resumed her energetic and riotous ways. She volunteered at school, attended her kids’ sporting events, and kept her friends and family laughing.

Three months ago, with her younger child three months from graduating high school, Sara received a new diagnosis, this time of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She pleaded with her doctor, “I need to stay alive until my daughter graduates from high school.”

The doctor responded, “Oh, you’ll see her graduate from high school and college.”

It’s now two weeks until graduation, and with several months of treatment still to go, Sara will achieve her original goal.

Sara’s story is real, emotional, and a testimonial to her unwavering focus, passion, and determination. What’s also incredibly impressive to all around her is to see how, even with this sword hanging above her head, she maintains her humor, her opinions, and her love of life. No question, she’s still very much Sara.

For business owners, while hopefully not facing the same life and death struggle, the idea and approach are the same. Set your definition of meaningful success, and then keep pile-driving toward it. Know that the route to the goal will include setbacks, distractions, perhaps redefinition, and definitely many other unexpected challenges.

But so what? Keep your eyes on the prize – on what matters most to you – while addressing that which would derail you.

Message to Sara: There are a great many out here who love you, who are rooting for you, who will help any way we can. We are in awe of, and inspired by, your performance. Thank you for being such an impressive role model, and for entertaining us along the way.

We’ll see you at graduation.

P.S. My wife showed this write-up to Sara (her real name), to offer total editorial freedom / right to block publication. At the time, I had used a “not her real name” moniker. Sara’s only edit? Use her real name. I told you she’s a pistol.

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