Turning Obstacles into Opportunities / by Tom Giles

Turn obstacles into opportunities and be relentlessly resourceful in your pursuit for happiness and success.

It's a wonderful thing seeing a community come together and support one another. The more we continue moving forward together the stronger we'll all be. As is often said, you're only as strong as your weakest link.

While talking about my hip is a difficult thing for me to do, my goal has always been to tell an inspiring story of turning obstacles into opportunities. Through this I hope to help others find words of wisdom and encouragement through my story.

Having gone through such an extreme and strenuous experience, I was forced to learn firsthand how to make the most of a tough situation and not only survive, but excel. I'm proud of the fact that beyond simply making it through 10 years of multiple hip surgeries and rehabilitation, I concurrently completed my college degree (while at home in bed rest and otherwise on crutches), lived in London and helped manage a multi-platinum selling artist, travelled all over the world (while on a cane), played in a rock band, taught myself to code, became a certified middle and high school teacher, and founded 2.5 startups.

Along the way I've learned a lot of lessons,

1. Surround yourself with an incredible team. A quality support group is essential in all walks of life. Without my parents supporting me through my surgeries, I likely would never have made it through those first few months let alone the entire 8 years. While tough to admit, that is incredibly true and scary to consider. StageBloc would never have been in the position it is today without our incredible team of co-founders, developers, friends, and advisors. And the entire MKE startup scene wouldn't exist without the support and community being grown through such groups as 94 Labs, Spreenkler, StartupMKE, and others.

2. Organization can make juggling the many hats we all wear far easier. I personally abide by a "Evening To Do List" routine through which I map out the next day's plans before bed each night. Try it sometime; it's incredible how much your productivity will increase when you know exactly what to do when you start your day.

3. Don't accept failure. Success is often made by those who simply never give up. To them, failure is not an option. If I could test for true and honest perseverance, I would hire everyone who passed.

4. Network with other entrepreneurs, creatives, and like-minded individuals. The entrepreneurial community is key and paramount to everyone's collaborative success. We're all in this together... especially in developing scenes like Milwaukee.

Community is key and I'll do what I can to help support and grow it. So please don't hesitate to contact me (@tomgiles) with questions, input, or cries for help. I'm always happy to help.