Just after September 11, 2001 the country was in turmoil. Lisa’s story of perseverance begins here, with the country in disarray, Lisa’s personal life also took a turn for the worse. The story is a powerful one of pure determination, sheer willpower, and of overcoming adversity that most of us will never face in our lives.
Her story starts just after her father passed away from a heart attack at age 55. Two years after this her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
Lisa was working in Washington D.C. when she got the news of her mother’s cancer. She immediately moved back to St. Louis to be there for her and to care for her in any way needed. Lisa moved her mother in with her as they began to prepare for the upcoming battle with the disease.
Meanwhile, Lisa’s son had joined the Marines to fight for his country overseas. With her son on enemy soil and her mother undergoing chemotherapy she had plenty on her plate. However, this is where Lisa’s battle truly begins.
The Battle Begins
About two years after her mother was diagnosed with cancer Lisa began to feel symptoms of her own. It started as some numbness in her leg which then led to tingling in her fingers and toes. Lisa went to a physician who suggested it could be a pinched nerve from all the time she spent in the gym and on the racquetball court.
This soon proved to most definitely not be the case. Lisa’s symptoms worsened to the point that she had trouble walking and even holding her winter coat. She knew something was wrong and after trips to six different physicians she was finally recommended to a neurologist.
Lisa underwent an MRA and MRI and was immediately admitted to the hospital once the doctor saw the results. She had lesions on her brain, neck, and spinal cord. She then had to undergo a battery of tests to determine the root cause of the lesions. After having a spinal tap and many other rigorous and difficult tests, Lisa was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The MS took hold of Lisa’s physical and mental functions, but she had other things to worry about as well. Namely, her financial situation. At the time of the diagnosis Lisa was a VP of Operations for a national healthcare provider. With her worsening health she knew that she couldn’t continue to work the demanding job. The company also knew this and began searching for Lisa’s replacement.
Lisa was jobless with mounting medical bills as well as all of the normal bills we all pay. She had a mortgage, car payment, and credit cards to think about. She began to cut back her expenses, selling her car among other things. However, the $2000 a month disability from work just couldn’t cut it. Lisa’s house went into foreclosure and the bills kept coming. She had to find another way.
The Power of Music
Lisa, at that time, was confined to a wheelchair unable to walk. She was unemployable due to her condition, but she had to find a way to make enough money to survive. With the help of close friends Lisa decided to go into what she knew best, the healthcare field.
With a modest financial contribution from her friends and sheer determination Lisa began to plot her return to work. However, Lisa could not reconcile risking her friends’ money while she was stuck in a wheelchair.
“This song came on the radio and I won’t forget it as long as I live.”
One day while contemplating her situation a song came on the radio. That song was Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll. Although Lisa had heard it hundreds of times it resonated with her like never before. She felt energetic and she was on a mission. She started buying exercise videos and at home, from her wheelchair, Lisa got to work. It was a slow process, but she was making progress. She started regaining movement in her hands, then her feet, and finally her arms and legs.
With the help of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones, Lisa is walking again. Lisa attributes this success not only to the power of music, but also to the power of the mind, eating healthy, and exercising. She still to this day does not go into an important meeting without first listening to Led Zeppelin.
Lisa started her business, National Medical Billing Services, from her bedroom in 2003 while battling MS. Since then she has grown it into a top medical billing company with over 500 employees. We wanted to gain some insight from Lisa on starting a business and overcoming adversity.
Lisa’s Top Tips for Starting a Business
We asked Lisa what her top tips were for someone looking to start a business. Here are a few that she stated helped her grow her company into the success it is today.
Know and Love Your Industry
Lisa says there is no way she would have succeeded without knowing and loving the industry she started in. She says to remember that the customer is buying you, as well as your product.
Even if you have a ton of seed money don’t go and waste it on brand new equipment. Keep your expenses low.
Don’t Be So Proud That You Can’t Ask For Help
Even if you have everything you can’t be afraid to ask someone who knows how to do something to help you.
Persevere and Be Prepared to Fight
In business your going to get tossed around. It’s up to you to find the strength to persevere and keep moving.
“A lot of folks have a wishbone where their backbone should be.”
Lisa’s Top Tips for Overcoming Adversity
Lisa Rock knows a thing or two about about overcoming adversity. As mentioned in her story above she was able to not only start walking again after being nearly completely paralyzed from MS, but also to start a successful business at the same time. Here are a few of her top takeaways from that experience.
Find Your Motivation
Whether it be religion, friends and family, or in Lisa’s case, music. Find what motivates you to get out of the slump.
Come Up With a Plan and Take Action
Once you find what motivates you, come up with a plan to make it happen. However, planning is just the first step, you must also take action to see change come about. Take the little steps everyday that make you better.
No matter how well you plan you can always get thrown a curveball. Be prepared to be flexible. Having the ability to adapt to your situation will find you great success.
Being a Female in Business
Being a woman in the business world brings its own set of challenges. Lisa is familiar with these challenges and has some advice for women in business.
Lisa states that the challenge doesn’t necessarily come about as a man vs. woman thing. She says the real difficulty is in controlling emotions when it comes to business. People will try and in some cases succeed in taking advantage of you and you must be tough. Learning to “toughen up” is not something Lisa learned overnight. She highly recommends taking a class or workshop on being a female in business.
Learning to harness her strength and overcome any weakness is what made Lisa the success she is today.
Growing a Business
Lisa’s company started off small, but soon grew to the point that she knew her expertise was maxed. What she had to do was let go of her ego and allow someone who had more experience to come in and take it to the next level.
If your looking to grow your business you may reach a ceiling of complexity. Breaking through this ceiling can be a difficult process and may require outside help. Again, don’t be so proud that you can’t ask for help.
Along the same line is not letting your ego limit you. You must be a constant student and not let your pride get in the way of progress. Always remember that the higher you go the more people you answer to. When you own your own business you answer to not only your customers, but all of your employees as well.
Lisa hopes that her story has helped to empower you. Remember that you can be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Overcoming the inevitable adversity that will enter your life starts in your mind. It ends with your perseverance and resolve to make the positive change in your life.
For more information on Lisa and her company follow the links below.
Be Sure to Listen to Lisa’s Amazing Story!