Everybody has a story, some happy, some sad, and some so amazing that you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the ground after reading it.  This is one of those stories.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Joseph Thuli for right around 7 years.  It started as a mentorship opportunity but built into a life-long friendship after getting to know him and his family.  In some of my posts, I’ve discussed adversity that I’ve overcome in my life from losing siblings to moving across the country with next to nothing.  That doesn’t hold a candle to the adversity that Joseph faces on a daily basis and will continue to face for the rest of his life.  zach-joseph1

Joseph was born with Neurodegenerative Central Nervous System Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis.  It is a disease that has affected his thinking, speech, posture, memory, motor skills, growth, and the development and functionality of some organs.  However, this hasn’t stopped him from doing what he loves. Golf.  That was our mutual passion, I was the captain of the golf team, and Joseph was a middle schooler looking forward to joining the golf team when he got to high school.  We started playing some rounds together and that’s when I started to learn about him.  His character, not just what he says, but what he does.  No matter what, every time we are on the first tee Joseph says “ready to get your butt kicked”  he’s a competitor at heart. For this reason, he has taken his attitude to a new game, entrepreneurship. zach-joseph2

Joseph first started selling golf balls when he was 7 years old.  After he made his first dollar he was hooked.  He started walking through the hazards at local golf courses picking up lost golf balls and selling them for pure profit.  After successfully doing that for 7 years he decided to take on a new venture and created the company J.O.T. Stainless Steel Creations.  The idea came about when he and his family were away visiting some friends at the nearby Mississippi river and someone was looking for a better way to anchor down their boat.  Joseph’s dad works with stainless steel so soon after that, the prototypes began to pour out of his dad’s shop.  What started with boat anchors just two years ago has now turned into an 8 product company.  Check out the shop here.josephs-logo

In a recent interview, I asked Joseph quite a few questions which were along the lines of how he approaches his day.  Having a disease like he has could be emotionally crippling to most adults, let alone a kid.

Q1 – What is your biggest motivating force, or what gets you up in the morning?

A1 – “Knowing every day is a new day and I will have the opportunity to make money and meet new people.”

Q2 – What has becoming an entrepreneur done for your outlook on life?

A2 – “It made me realize I can do whatever I want as long as I put my mind to it and work hard.”

Q3 – How do you overcome adversity?

A3 – “By trying to make the best of everything.  I go into my challenges with a good attitude and thinking about my business and knowing how far I’ve come.”zach-joseph3

People often ask me why I have such a positive outlook on life.  Why I am always trying to make the best out of bad situations.  Why I choose to be happy rather than sad when things aren’t going my way…  My answer lies in the profound effect that Joseph has had on my life.

If he is able to overcome such adversity as a kid, what’s your excuse as to why you can’t?

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For business inquiries, email Joseph at jotstainless@gmail.com.