Isaac Lidsky comes onto the Cashflow Diary podcast to give you some much needed inspiration and to show you that you can achieve your vision for your life.
As a successful child actor in a major sitcom, Isaac Lidsky was bound from Hollywood to Harvard, where he graduated by the age of 19 – all while losing his eyesight to a rare blinding disease, retinitis pigmentosa. Yet his future was bright. Today a blind CEO, author and acclaimed speaker, Isaac shares a remarkable story of courage and achievement amid tough challenges.
America first saw Isaac as “Weasel” in NBC’s “Saved by the Bell: The New Class”. As a teen, while his eyesight gradually diminished, Isaac began to reframe his outlook. Dispelling any notion of disability, Isaac honed his true vision. And his achievements kept mounting: following college, he not only spearheaded a start-up, but then studied law and graduated Harvard Law School magna cum laude; clerked for Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O’Connor, and argued and won more than a dozen appeals in federal court on behalf of the United States.
As an entrepreneur and leader, Isaac’s first company sold for $230 million, and he then transformed a struggling Orlando subcontractor into the leading $150 million construction services company ODC Construction, he now leads as CEO. He also founded Hope for Vision, a nonprofit organization that funds the development of treatments and cures for blinding diseases.
- Who is Isaac Lidsky?
Isaac grew up in the Hollywood fairy tale in a lot of ways. When Isaac was 13 he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and realized that he was destined to lose his eyesight. Isaac believed that he would end up alone and unremarkable, which obviously turned out to not be true.
- Where did the courage to continue come from?
We all confront our challenges differently. In the face of crisis, our fears can step in and we often imagine the worst case scenario. Isaac lost his sight over the course of twelve years. The process of becoming blind made Isaac realize that we shape our own realities.
In every moment, we get to choose who we want to be and how we live our lives. It’s an inescapable responsibility.
Isaac had an epiphany in the office of his occupational therapist. He was choosing to live in the awful world that he had created for himself in his mind. He made a choice to live differently.
- How did you go from the doctor’s office to creating a company?
What is it that you want to spend your time and your life on? What does success look like to you? You are living the answer to those questions every moment of your life, whether or not you are asking them consciously.
- Without your diagnosis, would your life look like the way it does?
Isaac wouldn’t change a thing about his life. Going blind was one of the greatest unexpected blessings he has received.
- Changing your perspective
We tell ourselves stories and limit ourselves. We listen to our fears and let them dictate the way we act. In the business world, entrepreneurs often set out to market the business or service that they want to sell. But it’s often more lucrative to create what your customers want to buy.
- Why did you write the book?
EYES WIDE OPEN explores the vision and philosophy of choosing what you want to see. Isaac wrote the book with his children in mind in the hopes that they will read it in the future.
Isaac does not have vision problems, he has sight problems. No matter what circumstances we are in, there are people who have done far more with much less and have lead happier lives. It’s not our circumstances that dictate our life, it’s how we view them.
- What are some challenges that entrepreneurs create for themselves?
Cash flow can be a valuable ally or a vicious foe. Too often will problems in your business will be obscured by positive cash flow. Or negative cash flow can sink an otherwise profitable venture. Business is both an art and a science.
Understanding and leveraging cash flow dynamics is what saved Isaac’s construction business.
Don’t do work that is not profitable is cash flow rule number 1. If you are not collecting money before you are paying money, it’s only a matter of time before your business will be underwater.
Isaac saw the 2011 recession as a major opportunity for the residential construction industry despite the housing market. The possibility of failure was very real but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
If you are looking for a guarantee in life, you are never going to find one. Do the research, talk to who you need to talk to, and if you believe in what you are doing, go for it! Success is in the striving for a worthy ideal.
Reference: EYES WIDE OPEN: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can't See Clearly, Isaac Lidsky
- Isaac’s Takeaway
Ultimately the art of the entrepreneur is to silence the inner critic and harness the strength within and believe in yourself. The circus of negative thoughts are not your reality unless you choose to listen to them.