Blind Success

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Visions of Business Success Achieved by Being Blind to Stereotypes.

Recently I was asked if I’d be willing to write about how and why I have been “successful” in business in spite of my being blind. Well, I don’t know about the successful part, I’m just another guy living life like anyone else.

My initial response was “why should any “disability” cause someone not to be successful?” I can’t do it. It’s too difficult. My blindness will hold me back. I never allowed phrases like this to enter my thought-process.

Image showing a cut-out from the March 24, 1971 Cleveland Press newspaper article featuring Lou Fioritto

Long before Lou Fioritto thought about starting his own business, he was featured in The Cleveland Press newspaper on March 24, 1971 while working with the I.R.S.

Success Instilled During Childhood

This goes all the way back to when I was a kid. My parents, especially my mom, never treated me as though I couldn’t do things because of being blind. In fact, she was probably the strongest driving force behind my desire to excel in everything I did. If I was being careless and lost something, she would make me find it on my own. She also wouldn’t let other family members treat me as though I was “special”. A lot of people, including myself at times, may interpret this as my mother being too hard on me but it didn’t take long to realize she was doing the right thing. She loved me and didn’t ever want to see me shy-away from my potential.

There are a million more stories I could tell you about the greatly positive influence my mother was to me, but like I said before, it can all be summed-up in the fact that I never heard the words “I can’t do it” in my household. I wasn’t even allowed to speak them.

I attended public school, played and performed in the local high-school marching band and got in my fair share of trouble with my friends. After graduating, I worked for the government for 11 years. It was during that time I became a born again Christian; the best thing that ever happened in my life.

The Beginnings of Braille Works

Over the years I held several jobs. In 1994 my wife Joyce and I started Braille Works, a business-to-business braille, large print and audio transcription company. We certainly felt all the typical fears anyone would have when starting a new business but through our Savior Jesus Christ and His guidance we were able to build the business to what it is today. We started out with 1 desk in our dining room 19 years ago and now Braille Works is a profitable company employing 60+ people in two offices comprising of 1,250 square feet of working space.

Image showing the main Braille Works office located in the Tampa, Florida area

Braille Works main office located in the Tampa, FL area

It is very important to live life in stages in my opinion. We need to go through the difficult times and always believe that great things are ahead. During a time in my life when I was immersed in prayer for God to deepen my spiritual journey, I dear friend of mine told me I shouldn’t rush my walk with The Lord. He said that if I tried to skip ahead of God that I would end up experiencing failure.

I gave that a lot of thought and realized that life works in the same way. Sometimes we just need to be patient instead of trying to rush success.

Image showing a framed Tampa Tribune new article about Braille Works from 1998

Soon after moving the business from Ohio to Florida, Braille Works was featured in The Tampa Tribune newspaper.

When I was younger, back in my 30’s, all I could think about was making big money. If someone came to me with a business idea or opportunity, I could help them run it straight in to the ground. My main motivation was to make money. As I matured and learned to make Christ the true center of my life, money took a far second place. That’s when my success took-off like an Angry Bird from a sling-shot.

In the late 90’s a pastor friend of mine asked me to be on the leadership team at church while we were riding in his car back to my house. I told him I’d like to but couldn’t because of being so busy with the business. His response to me was “I really want you on the team because everything you’re involved in is successful”. Who, me?

When I got out of his car I thought to myself “you know what, he’s right”. But it didn’t have anything to do with me; all the success was simply blessings from God after I reaffirmed my faith and priorities in life. I stopped being so self-centered and became more and more Christ-centered. I give Jesus all the praise. He is the source of all my success in business and life in general, not me.

Don’t Accept Mediocrity

In conclusion, don’t ever accept “no” for an answer. You may need to make many changes in your course along the way, but always keep your head up and stay positive no matter what life brings. Don’t allow pessimism to drag you down; it’ll only hurt your chances at being successful.

Framed image of Lou and Joyce Fioritto, Owners and Co-Founder of Braille Works with a drop-shadow

Here’s a more recent photo of Lou and Joyce Fioritto, founders of Braille Works.

Trust someone who has been there and done that, if you constantly look ahead to the great things life has in store for you, you will be successful. No doubt about it.

Have a success story of your own? Do you have family or a friend who has overcome their so-called “disability” and achieved great success? Leave your story in the comment section below and we’ll consider featuring it on a future blog post.

Here’s a few more random photos; enjoy!

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