You know that saying, ‘coming through the fire’? I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, I’ve discovered business fast-tracks as well as time-sucking dead-ends; I’ve experienced magical times where everything I touched turned to gold, and I’ve had my fair share of times when it feels like everything is crumbling down around my ears and it’s all going to end in flames.
But you know what I’ve learned? Success isn’t just about navigating around the problems, it’s about what you do when a monstrous beast of a business problem comes at you head on; when it knocks you to the ground, gets you between its teeth and shakes you until you think you’re done for.
Do you know what you do?
You find your moment.
You get up again.
Because, when you’re a natural-born entrepreneur, there isn’t any other choice.
Of course, I didn’t know this at first. I wasn’t prepared for my first major business calamity. I’m a (recovering) perfectionist and failure just wasn’t in my vocabulary. And back in those days, neither was compromise. And that’s what nearly killed me; my bloody determination not to bend, not to adapt. I feared what would happen if I gave in, if I was forced to change. I feared the world would come to an end.
Good times don’t test your spirit and your fortitude. Bad times do.
But the world doesn’t come to an end.
Good times don’t test your spirit and your fortitude. Bad times do. You don’t always know what you’re capable of, or who you are, until you hit rock bottom.
That’s when you know if the life of an entrepreneur is really for you.
Learning to love your entrepreneurial battle-scars.
My personal entrepreneurial breakthrough came after I got through that first business calamity… and the second… and the third! I was a little worse for wear, I had a few battle-scars, but I was alive, I was OK. And most importantly, I learned from each battle.
Talking about this has reminded me about all those famous quotes most of us pay lip-service to. If you haven’t gone through the bad times yet, then these quotes may seem like empty platitudes; but boy, when you’ve gone through as many battles as I have, you see the wisdom inside each one:
Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on what you can do. – unknown.
Progress is more important than perfection – Simon Sinek
You can’t win them all. – Connie Mack.
It’s not how many times you get knocked down; it’s how many times you get back up. – George A. Custer.
Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. – Henry Ford.
And something that I’m only just starting to take on board: ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ (thanks Glen Carlson that book was a godsend!).
If only I’d taken the life lessons in those quotes to heart before I needed them… but then, I guess that’s not the way life works. You need to experience the bad times your own way.
So, embrace the bad times as a necessary evil.
Whatever comes your way (no matter how bad it hurts) and wherever you are in your journey, just know that it’s exactly where you’re meant to be. Embrace the bad times as a necessary evil towards success, and remember, you’ve chosen this path.
Accept the good with the bad of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants entrepreneur; be ready to fight the beasts of business at a moment’s notice… but also be ready to adapt , thrive and survive… no matter what comes your way.
That’s the way to your own entrepreneurial breakthrough.