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Believe in yourself and just go for it.

Believe in yourself and just go for it.

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. Michael J. Fox

C’est la vie – Such is life! You don’t have to like what life throws at you, but you do need to find a way to use it to your advantage.

A few years ago, my father-in law, Don, went in for a “routine back operation.” The expectation was that this would greatly reduce his pain levels and improve his mobility, so he could return to active duty. No such luck! After returning home from the hospital with a very positive prognosis to recover, Don started feeling incredible pain and inflammation. Staph infection. He was rushed to the emergency room and stayed in hospital for weeks, having to endure more operations and suffering. He ended up having to spend over a year flat on this back, unable to move, on medicine that made him feel terrible. Throughout the whole process and very slow, painful recovery, Don never complained about his situation; and was always ready to crack a joke. His incredible optimism, humor and smile never left him. He accepted his situation with grace and dignity. The way he conducted himself during this entire period touched and inspired so many people around him. His courage and strength of will, is in my books, nothing short of miraculous!

Ten years ago, we published our very first magazine in Orange County. I clearly remember flying into John Wayne to take up residence in California with “one working eye.” I had suffered a detached Retina just days before. I had to wait until I arrived to have my eye operated on, since I would not be able to fly for many weeks after the operation. Within two days of landing, the operation was done, and five days later I was in the car driving around Orange County looking for clients to advertise in our magazine. We had set ourselves an eight week launch deadline. There were only three of us – myself, my wife and my brother.

Many people laughed at me when I walked into their businesses with an eye patch, talking with a strange accent. I looked and sounded like a Pirate. Sure, I felt very self-conscious and it was not easy, but I used it to my advantage. We launched the biggest magazine to date in TheHomeMag history. “Often it’s the adversity in your life that gives you the greatest discovery of self.”

In the early days of our business, deadline week felt like “death” week. It was gut wrenching and highly stressful. We later changed its name to Miracle week, as no matter how many challenges we faced during that week, we always found a way to complete the magazine in time. Deadline week meant getting all our files (clients artwork) ready to upload to the printers. The last possible time was 5pm on Friday, to have them printed and ready for delivery to homes via USPS by Tuesday of the next week.

On one deadline, our Graphic Designer had to suddenly rush off to take care of a family emergency. This forced us to get a temp replacement. This was a total disaster. I remember coming into work on Friday morning having only left the office a few hours earlier around 3 am. The next time I went home was Sunday afternoon. Our small dedicated team pulled together and worked all weekend, day and night, to make it happen. Through adversity, few discovered a strength in themselves that had never been tested before; we learned who could handle themselves under extreme pressure; and we became a team to be reckoned with, because by the end of that Miracle Week we realized that no matter what challenges we faced in the future, we had the team that would find a way to win.

We are 10 years old this issue! It’s a huge milestone: firstly, because we know how few businesses make it this far, but most importantly because we know the road we traveled to get to this point. We still have numerous clients that have been in every issue right from the start. I’m so immensely grateful for them and for the challenges we faced, as they forced us to grow stronger, learn new skills, cry, celebrate, and have the courage to persevere. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow”- Mary Anne Rademacher.

To all of you out there, reaching for your dreams is never going to be easy. Believe in yourself and just go for it. You will be surprised by the depth of your strength when you truly need it!

Until next month,
Ralph Harris