A small (but mighty) 5’2

My mouth was being held open by my dentist when I got the call.

It was my dad…

Telling me to get home to meet my mom and him there – we had to get my mom to the hospital.

We packed a few things and started rushing over, only to hit traffic.

That evening, my mom was admitted to ICU and was immediately scheduled for an emergency brain operation – they found a cancerous mass beneath her beautiful head of hair.

She fought with all 5 foot 2 inches of her might and kept smiling through the surgeries, disgusting chemo treatments, and losing use of the left side of her body.

But, sad stuff aside, my mother walked this planet with energy and a contagious excitement for life.

She taught me many things, but here are just a few I think you’ll enjoy:

Lesson #1: Life’s too short to play it small

There’s no reason to look at someone else’s life or goals and to compare yourself.

You see, everyone is dealt the same deck of cards, just in a different order.

Whatever you do – entrepreneurial or not – do it to the HIGHEST degree possible.

Lesson #2: Forgive Fast

Something that ate at me when we were first diagnosed was a nasty bout my mom and I had when I was about nineteen.

At the time, it was such a big deal to me…

But when you’re faced with life and death it puts things into perspective.

Too often we let dumb things keep us from loving others and ourselves.

When you forgive others, you take back your power and set the example for everyone around you.

It’s hard to have the conversation, but if something is eating at you – bring it up.

Make that tough phone call, send that text saying how you really feel, and always be upfront.

Lesson #3: Be the life of your own party

She’s smiling as I write this.

You see, my mom – hands down – was always the life of the party.

I don’t quite know if she did it to get everyone having a good time or just because she wanted to have fun herself… but every room she entered lit up with the kind of energy that makes you want to stand up and dance.

You are solely responsible for your own happiness.

No music? Make some.

No dance floor? No need.

Wherever you’re at – right now – is the perfect stage for you to truly enjoy every second and have a blast in the process.

Why not?

Lesson #4: Family is EVERYTHING

Our diagnosis a few years back brought my parents back together, showed my sister and I just how important we are to each other, and touched so many people around us.

While family is everything – it’s deeper than blood.

It’s a mindset that we’re all in this together and we should look out for one another regardless if you’re gay, straight, black, purple, or brown (as mom would say).

You reading this now – you’re family.

The gentleman who made the hell out of the coffee I’m drinking as I write this? Family.

The person who made the crappy salad I ate after day two of ICON last night. Yep, you guessed it – family.

When you treat others like family, YOU get treated like family.


I’ll end this equally sad and fun note with something I love from Steve Jobs:

If you live each day as if it were your last, one day you’ll most certainly be right.


Jeremy Montoya

Me + Your Inbox = Pure passion.

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