What I Gained From Nearly Dying

I had a very interesting interview with a writer about my recovery from an accident I had a few years ago. She says that my story would be interesting to some people and she plans to publish a story on it. I will share a link to it when she does.

Three years ago, I was really finding success professionally and personally. My clients at IDC included Fortune 500 companies and top global brands. I got to work with some of the smartest people in the world. My focus has been market research and competitive business intelligence on tough product and marketing problems. My team’s mission was to provide insights that executives used to make deeply strategic decisions.

Michelle Gamble on Laguna Beach with son Cole
My son Cole was a huge part of my motivation to fight. Here he and I are at Laguna Beach.

One day on a normal drive to work my car was struck by an out of control driver. My airbag deployed and it knocked me unconscious so my car kept moving until it struck a high-voltage power line pole. When I woke up in the hospital I found out that the emergency workers were so concerned about the damaged car and electrical lines that they had pulled me from the car while my foot was still pinned under the gas pedal and this shattered and mangled my ankle.

My recovery started normally until I suddenly started to exhibit some unexpected symptoms. After some tests, I was told that I had contracted the MRSA Super Bug in the hospital. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a drug-resistant bacterial infection. Hospital patients with open wounds are susceptible to contracting it because it is highly contagious and very difficult to combat. It has become a major problem in hospitals across the country. The infection attacked my damaged tissue and entered the bones in my foot.

I will never forget that conversation. My doctor told me there was no way to save my foot and they would have to amputate or I would die. I got a second opinion and then another. They all said exactly the same thing. I just could not believe that in a top California hospital this was my only option.

In business, I never liked being told there were no options. I always took that as a challenge. My family and friends feared for my life and urged me to accept the opinions of the doctors. Instead, I decided to fight. I took personal ownership of my own care and approached it like I would a business challenge. I would conduct my own research, use my networking skills to identify the very best in the field, challenge assumptions, encourage others to go further than they thought they could and I was determined to push through the roadblocks.

Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

 

I spent countless hours researching MRSA treatments, asking tough questions and double checking what people told me. These are good people and well trained but I wanted to beat this for me and my family. I wanted my life back. Finally, a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center agreed to help me try to save my foot.

Over the next two years I had nine surgeries and we beat the infection and the doctors saved my foot. I spent a year meeting specialists and completed over 400 physical therapy sessions. I couldn’t walk or drive so I had to rely on my amazing network of family and good friends and took trains, buses and Uber when needed. I had more surgeries to repair my bones and skin. When you don’t walk that long and have major surgery you need to learn how to walk all over again.

I missed my clients and coworkers although many visited me and became friends. Doctors said that my recovery was miraculous. I have completely recovered. I have no pain and am very active. I don’t even have a limp.

I was left so grateful for the simple things that I used to take for granted. It means so much to me to walk along Laguna Beach with Cole or to drive myself to meetings or the store. I was really inspired with how many people wanted to help. When people see you fighting for something they want to see you succeed so they jump to help you. The reporter called me a survivor. I never really thought in those terms before. However, I do feel I have learned a lot about myself. I have enjoyed amazing personal growth that comes from overcoming something and defying the odds.

Providing Long-Term Value over Short-Term Solutions

There’s always some confusion around the term ‘Business Development,’ I’ve found.

 

“What do you do?”

 

“My name is Michelle Gamble from Laguna Beach. I’m an analyst and I specialize in Business Development.”

“Uh, okay? What does that mean?”

 

It means understanding the importance of long-term value rather than short-term solutions. Simply put, it’s helping a business grow over time, helping business owners explore their options through this, and understanding the importance of relationships on every level.

 

The relationship between customer and product or service, the relationship between managers and staff, and the relationship the business owner has with their business.

 

Clearly, business development covers a broad scope of areas: Sales, Marketing, Project Management, and Partnerships to name a few.

 

A business developer works in all the spheres mentioned above, but they don’t work in them in the traditional sense.

 

In Sales, the business developer will ascertain the potential for sales over a certain time period, and help the sales department set goals for the future.

Michelle Gamble and Son at the Beach

In Marketing, the business developer analyzes the market and helps set a marketing budget for the team to work with on their initiatives.

 

Analysis is a huge part of successful business development and building that long-term value which helps grow a business. Here’s what I love about it: it’s not cold numbers and facts. It’s intuitive, and it’s all about dealing with people and understanding them on a psychological level.

 

Understanding a market is about quantitative analysis, yes, but it’s also about understanding who is in that market.

 

The people who buy the product or invest in the service essentially drive all the growth for a business, just as the culture within a business and the managers who are hired can create the perfect atmosphere for growth or destabilize that entirely.

 

Emotional intelligence is an absolute must for any business developer. Only through these real connections can the developer provide long-term value and help the business do the same for its consumers.

 

Overcoming Adversity – Gratitude in the Face of Hard Lessons

 

Recently, an article was published on the USA Herald about me and what I’ve been through. It was strange to read about it from an outside perspective, but it brought back memories of what happened – I won’t say that the memories are pleasant, but they’ve certainly made me who I am today.

 

In case you’re not aware, three years ago I was in a car accident which changed everything. My foot was badly injured and while in hospital I caught a Super Bug which was drug resistant.

 

It effectively started eating away at my foot and entered my bones. The doctors told me the only way to save my life was to have the foot removed entirely. Call me crazy, but I wasn’t willing to do that. Through a lengthy process of meeting with expert after expert, I finally met the specialist who agreed to help me.

 

Seven surgeries later and an entire year of rehabbing my foot and I’m well. I guess you could call it fully-functional. I’ve been through a divorce. I’m now a single parent. And I’ve spent the last three years out of the professional arena which I adore.

 

But, you know what? I wouldn’t trade the experience I had for anything. Now that I’m back in the saddle, I look back on what happened and I’m actually grateful for it. I don’t think I would’ve achieved the level of strength and determination I have if I hadn’t been through all of that.

 

I believe that certain lessons and tasks are placed in our path for a reason. They’re kind of like tests, except with these there are no ‘right’ answers. You either step up to the challenge or back down. I’ve never been one to back down and that’s been my saving grace over the past three years.

 

Looking back on what I’ve experienced and the strength I gleaned from it, I can only come to one conclusion: I’m blessed.

 

About the Author

Michelle Gamble of Laguna Beach

What is Marketing Analytics

I am Michelle Gamble here in Laguna Beach. Simply put, marketing analytics is the process of using trusted technology to evaluate the efficacy of a company’s employed marketing programs or initiatives. This is done through measuring the performance of those programs with certain metrics. Most importantly, ROI (Return On Investment).

 

Here’s a hard truth: market research is what makes or breaks a company.

 

Understanding how your marketing programs are really performing, no matter what industry you’re in, can set you aside from your competitors. And if you, as a business owner, place your trust in the wrong person to lead that research you’re not going to get the results you desire.

 

It’s essential to understand the big-picture marketing trends which influence your brand. Marketing analytics and research allows the prediction of those trends and the possible effect they may have on the outcome of marketing programs.

 

Forecasting those results can save businesses a lot of money or direct them toward a new marketing enterprises which could generate higher profits.

Michelle Gamble and Friends Enjoy a Dinner Party

And where marketing programs are a success, this type of research helps us understand why that is. Numbers never lie.

 

I’ve held a belief about qualitative and quantitative analytics and research which might be a little ‘out there’ for others in the field. It’s a measured, intellectual process, sure, but it’s also incredibly creative.

 

That’s part of the reason I love what I do. What might look like dry numbers to one person, tells a story to me – I can measure technology-driven trends and predict outcomes based on those numbers. However, creativity doesn’t equate to a relaxed approach – it means using trusted analytical techniques in a creative manner to achieve results.

 

That’s what makes the process so rewarding. I’ve done custom consulting to create market research projects for businesses for years, and have built an expertise in understanding buyer profiles because of this, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

 

Michelle Gamble- Laguna Beach