It is all too often that we can berate ourselves for the failures in our business, especially the self-inflicted kind.
I can speak from experience.
My family business began to spiral long before I realized or in truth wanted to acknowledge. The economy took a major turn thus hurting and drastically changing the spending habits of my main clientele. I lived their life too and knew this first hand but deliberately ignored the signs.
Failure is huge!
Why? That is super easy to answer.
It was our family sole income source. I built it from scratch from nothing but hard work and perseverance. It was comfortable and on autopilot and I had a staff I loved and did not want to disappoint. Hey, I did not want to disappoint myself for that matter.
Failure, is huge and that was how I looked at it and so I plugged along, tried a few minor tweaks, spent all my savings to keep my beloved employees and did not pay myself for almost three years!
Wow! That hurt just putting it down on paper, a huge humbling experience. I am not here to be cathartic or bore you with the sad details. I am here to let you know that it was the best thing to happen to me.
Okay maybe not the best, my marriage, the birth of my children and grandchildren do hold “numero uno” spot!
However, in spot two, is the huge demise of my business.
The failure of my business thrust me back into the world at large. It forced me to share my talents in a related, yet entirely new way. It made me happy to know that I am not perfect in a very concrete and tangible way!
When I acknowledge all this, I am free of the burden called “failure.”
I know there is ton of stuff out there to say that everything boils down to a mindset and yes, in the over 20 years of my business there was much success, much to be proud of. I employed over 50 amazing people who taught me much, I served thousands of customers who shared their families stories and dreams with me, and I was able to bring my husband home to work on the business with our kids.
These are real successes but in the end the business did fail. The numbers prove it and so did the debt that took three years to pay off. Woo-hoo it feels great to be debt free! (But that’s another article soon…)
What made the difference, the turnaround?
For the first time in nearly 30 years I invested in myself.
I took stock of myself and spent a great deal of time in prayer. Next I put out feelers and rekindled my passions and interests and read a ton of books.
Then I offered my services to an old acquaintance to help out at an event he was holding. The payoff was a working interview. During this time I was able to demonstrate my talents and gifts while doing the work. I took a leap of faith after the event, asking how I could be of further service, which in turn became the pivotal moment to take on my first client.
My entrepreneurial spirit enkindled.
I viewed myself and this new opportunity as my own new business and was delighted with the results, the people I encountered and a renewed passion.
Could I have imagined where I would be right now? No.
Would I want to go back and ask for a redo? No.
What I found critical was to bring myself to the time I am living, in the present moment. All that is asked of me is to be present, to give all and to give my unique self to whatever, wherever I am, no matter the stage of life.
The real failure would have been to have stayed down and given up on myself and my gifts.
They never left me, they just needed a new stage in which to perform and give back to the world.