Learning to Be Strong

By Thomas Jakobs July 22, 2011

Learning to Be Strong

By: Thomas Jakobs

I’ve been watching Larry Bell's Be Extraordinary video. In it he makes the comment “I’ve learned that I am stronger than I want to be”. That statement has been haunting me.

When Diane and I started InvoTek, I was 30 years old. I hoped that my engineering experience was sufficient to help people. I knew virtually nothing about business. People joke about the School of Hard Knocks. Diane and I have taken lots of hard knocks, and there have been several times over the years when a smarter person would have quit. In spite of it all, Diane is still my wife and 23 years later InvoTek still exists. I don’t take either of these things for granted.

When I started working with people who were terminally ill I was afraid of them. I was afraid of entering into the suffering of someone slowly losing their physical abilities. I was afraid of becoming friends and the loss that would follow. I was afraid that I couldn’t be much help. These fears don’t hold a candle to the gift of sharing in this experience.

The Be Extraordinary program requires arrogance on my part to attempt. We think that since our clients can’t afford the technology they need to meet their life goals and there is insufficient public funding, little InvoTek, with your help, will meet the need. And we don’t just address the technical issues, we’ll help address all the issues that prevent a person from achieving their life goal. Now that is arrogant and probably crazy, but it has also made real differences in several people’s lives -- and has changed me too.

I’d like to say we survived all of this because the folks at InvoTek are good at what we do. I think we are good, but that isn’t enough. We have had to be strong enough to accept that we won’t achieve all that we hope, but still try to achieve all that we can. Can you imagine how hard it is to let go of helping someone who really needs your help? It tears me apart. Some days, I have to be stronger than I want to be.

I see so many people who need help – who, like Larry, deserve our help. I hope that you will choose to be stronger than you have to be and give us a hand. I’m confident that you’ll be proud of what we accomplish together and that it will touch you in ways that can’t be foreseen. It certainly has made a big difference to me.