“There's never a day when I don't want to come to work.”
Can you say the same?
Carol Fitzgerald, Executive Director for New Horizons Village in Farmington, Connecticut, whole-heartedly believes in her statement. Admittedly, there are tough days, but Fitzgerald hasn’t looked back once since leaving her decades-old career as a CPA to oversee this nonprofit organization.
“Well, we're a special community. We are independent housing for people with physical disabilities. We have 101 residents, we have been here for 32 years, and there's really no place like us around. We're on a beautiful 25 acre campus in the heart of Farmington, Connecticut and all our residents have support services so they can live full, independent lives,” Fitzgerald explained.
Owning or running a business comes with its fair share of setbacks. Sometimes, these obstacles could be damaging enough to discourage you from continuing with your dream. But what I learned from visiting New Horizons Village is that there’s no setback too big for you to overcome.
Troy, Amy, Gary, Marissa, Rob and the dozens of other residents living at New Horizons are proof.
Here’s a bit about their stories, and reasons why you too, can overcome any setback the business world throws your way.
Troy is the newest resident at New Horizons Village, and his dreams are anything but small. He has his sights set on making it to the Ellen Show. And at age 21, he is wise beyond his years:
“Study the laws in the universe because the universe can tell you a lot about yourself. Once you study the laws of the universe, there is no right and wrong, there's just normal. So once you find what that normal is, you take it and you take the initiative to do whatever you want to do and don't let anyone tell you to do something or not because everyone is special in their own way and everyone's a star. So you just have to find your own outlet and once you do, you'll be great,” he proclaimed. Great advice Troy!
Amy was like any other 17-year-old until she suffered a devastating injury. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an avid cross-stitcher, with her works adorning her apartment and displayed in the local airport. She firmly believes in perseverance and positivity and tries to spread those vibes onto those around her.
“I have a spinal cord injury; I broke my neck when I was 17. And the people that I was in the rehab hospital with, so many of them wouldn't even get out of bed, and they wouldn't try to do anything. I can't focus on the negative like that. I said I'd never be that way. I have to do something. I have to be positive,” she explained.
Gary has been a resident at New Horizons for over 30 years. He is legally blind and has Cerebral Palsy. Gary is actively involved in politics and is an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Serving as the co-chair of the Citizens Coalition for Equal Access, Gary’s mission is to promote awareness and dignity for people living with disabilities.
“For disabled people, it's so important for them to have as much freedom as they can, because everybody likes to be free. It's important for disabled people to be as free as the rest of the population,” he said.
Marissa has Spastic Cerebral Palsy and is partially blind. She has a knack for journalism, earning her degree in communications from the University of Hartford (with honors!). Also actively involved in multiple organizations, Marissa is actively training for a 5K. But what she loves most about journalism is the very reason I, too, love telling these stories.
“I think just getting to know people. Sometimes you're with them on the greatest day of their lives and other times you're with them on the worst day of their lives. And there's always a human element behind that, so getting to see the personal side or the human side of the story, that's what interests me the most,” Marissa explained.
Finally, we talked to Rob. Rob has been a resident at New Horizons for 19 years and embodies what it means to live independently – beyond the disabilities. Utilizing the facility’s transportation options, he works a regular job during football season. OK not that regular, actually pretty darn cool.
“I'm a security officer for Contemporary Services Corporation. I work over at Rentschler Field for the U Conn football team,” he amicably described.
Feeling inspired yet?
Of course, we can all learn a thing (or five) about positivity from these residents, but how does this play into running your small business?
Revert to your why.
You receive the devastating news that the funding you were counting on for an upcoming project was declined. Your big advertising plan fell flat, costing you more than you’d like to admit. Before crawling into a hole and considering giving up your business dreams, think back to why you pursued them in the first place.
What gets you out of bed every morning? Write down your ‘why’ and keep it some place where it can serve as a constant reminder of your passion and purpose.
Fitzgerald’s ‘why’ is pretty simple.
“Every single day I smile when I walk into the office. We have come a long way and have a long way to go, but when I leave here, it will probably be one of the best accomplishments of my life. It's an easy place to fall in love with, it's an easy mission to believe in. And the people are just inspirational to be around every day,” she gushed.
Never lose sight of why you started in the first place and you’ll always have a reason to keep going.
Change your perspective.
Taking the glass half full approach to setbacks is anything but easy. Turning a negative experience into a valuable learning moment is something our parents tried to instill in our minds growing up. There’s oh so much truth to it.
This article from Bustle explains 11 quick ways you can change your perspective when things turn south. Practicing gratitude, looking at the bigger picture, and not thinking in terms of ‘should’ are easy wins when it comes to staying positive.
For Fitzgerald, she thrives on looking at the bigger picture. Her mindset is that New Horizons is much more than just a place for adults with disabilities to stay.
“This is home. It's home for our residents. It's nothing more and nothing less than home. Everybody just wants to feel like this is not an institution, not somebody else's buildings, but home,” she emphasized.
It’s not always easy to approach things from a different view, but it’s worth it.
Yes, you should appreciate your setbacks as much as you do your wins. As this article from Forbes points out, “appreciate that failure presents a defining moment.” What moments have defined your business journey (good or bad)? Appreciate them.
“What makes it so special is the people that come to live here. They want an independent life. They are incredibly resilient. It's a community where everybody is appreciative and enjoys the birds chirping and the deer running through the grounds, because otherwise they might not be outside at all. This environment has taught me to appreciate the simple things in life. It's not all about the bottom line,” Fitzgerald explained.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make or break your outlook in business…and in life.
Look back at the stories from the residents, and Ms. Fitzgerald’s perspective on overseeing the organization – I challenge you to find something more inspiring than this!
To learn more about New Horizons Village, click here.
Bonus: Overcome administrative setbacks with the help of PrimePay!
“PrimePay has been a great partnership. A little while ago, we changed insurances and it necessitated us to reach out and partner with an organization to do all our COBRA work. PrimePay was highly recommended to us and our HR manager can’t say enough about the customer service that she receives from PrimePay. It’s a service that has allowed us to make sure that we’re following all the guidelines of COBRA because we don’t have the resources to do it ourselves,” said Fitzgerald.
To enter a partnership with us today, simply click here to learn more or fill out the form below.