broke, watching my wife search for answers to my illness and try to figure out what she and my family would do for income and employment when I was gone. I discovered motivation in my mortality and decided not to quit. Instead, I opted to search for a way to ensure my survival. I realized I would have to start fighting or accept dying. I would not quit searching for solutions. Even when I lost my memory every day (a symptom of the disorder), I would record what I learned so I could learn it again the following day. I became an expert on this parasite, Lyme Disease, so I could defeat it. We spent the next nine months going from doctor to doctor, and tried some scary treatments. At one point, doctors were able to extract the Lyme germ from my body, but even that had some surprising side effects. The extraction of the par- asite caused a Herxheimer die-off reaction, which made me feel even sicker thanks to a massive release of toxins, proteins, and other inflammatory agents into my body due to the treatment. I was taking steps to beat this thing, but I felt like it was still beating me even when it was no longer in my body! Even when I thought I was losing, I decided to fight until I won. I surrounded myself with positive people. I received motivation from people around me, and they encouraged me to keep pushing. PARASITES IN BUSINESS During my time recovering from Lyme Disease, I noticed some familiar characteristics of many business-related items and situations I have seen every day while working in busi- ness in my illness. I concluded that a business, just like life, could host a parasite. If it wasn’t extracted in a timely fashion, it could kill the business just like this parasite was killing me. There are many different types of parasites in business. You might call these parasites by another name, “takers.” You might think you know who the takers in your business are, but before you take aim, take a minute to honestly answer these questions: 1 Are you the Parasite? You might be if: • You are taking too much cash from the business • You work too much in the business and limit business growth • You destroy employee morale • You fail to share a clear business vision • You are more concerned that people show up (head count) than whether they are passionate about their jobs and the business goals (heart count)


2 Are your employees parasites? They might be if: • They push their own vision instead of yours • They turn other staff against you • They are disrespectful to you and other staff • They constantly make excuses • They are complacent • Their values do not align with your core values 3 Are distractions becoming a parasite? This may be true if the following apply: • Shock, anger, and betrayal • Denial and disbelief • Procrastination: You’re going to want to put off confronting your conclusions Remember, when you begin the search for solutions, you take all of these negative feelings and experiences toward an eventual resolution. • You have another business draining resources from the first • Your home life is unbalanced and pulls you away from your business • You cannot resist “shiny objects” that prevent you from focusing on your niche • You have lots of meetings but never reach any conclusions Most people do not think of themselves as parasites and are not accustomed to thinking of others in this way, either. As a result, identifying a parasite can have some very real, emotional complications. Be prepared to deal with these feelings and the resulting issues:


by Gary Harper

ay is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. During May, activists work hard to shine a spotlight on Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses, including information on how to support Lyme research and protect your family from these infections. MY STORY It was 2012, and I had just won a major award for a Fortune 500 company. I renewed contracts with four new clients that year. I was looking at a promotion that would allow me to take my career to a whole new level. I was in the best shape of my life and just lost 90 pounds. Life was good, and I was finally thriving. Then, the struggle began It was Saturday morning and I was feeling really off. I got out of the shower and had what I believed at the time to be a seizure. M

I was taken to the hospital, but the doc- tors could not figure it out. These mini-sei- zures continued, then the panic attacks started. I once had 15 in one day. I spent the next six months and my life’s savings searching for answers. Doctors discov- ered I had a parasite called Lyme Disease. I underwent lots of testing to discover the

PAR • A • SITE noun - an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense. derogatory - a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

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Gary Harper is the owner of Sharper Business Solutions and a Think Realty Coach. Watch his latest coaching courses and learn more about setting effective goals at

extent of the disease. We found out it was late stage Lyme Dis- ease, and if I failed to alter my lifestyle, I would die. My heart

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