Most of us have experienced failureon some level in our lives. One must realize that challenges and difficulties will abound—and few are immune to their grasping reach. However, when challenges arise in business and in life, we all have the same choice: to become overwhelmed and defeated, or get up, push through and move on.
U.S. President Grover Cleveland once said, “It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge.”We have the power to choose our principles and determine our fate by our willingness to adhere to them when the going is tough.
I’ve experienced numerous failures over the years, both large and small, and made the decisionto glean what I could from every situation. During the most trying moments, I knew that if I wanted to be a trustworthy businessman, my philosophical beliefs needed practical application within my business life.Lessons such as these guided my life’s journey to where I am today: the head of a re-born business.
In my upcoming book, I detail the process of overcoming the bitter difficulty of reconstructing Equator after agonizing betrayal and defeat.
“What do people do when they lose their fortunes? On Wall Street, they end their lives. As melodramatic as it may sound, I understood at that moment why people do seemingly crazy things, like jump off buildings or disappear from the business world.
Painstakingly. Deliberately. Equator came back to life. I washanging on by a thread. My staff had been downsized to the bare minimum and we were lucky enough to complete a few orders here and there. I was on autopilot, answering “yes” and “no” without really thinking. I could barely handle the day-to-day, let alone think about the future or muster up any sort of energy. I couldn’t see a future for Equator, yet there was no end in sight. It would have been easier if I could see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, but there was nothing but haze. I couldn’t feel my way through the fog and it was a terrifying and absolutely lonely feeling.
When you’re an employee, you can quit when the going gets too tough. When you’re a business owner, you have to stick it out. I was the captain of a sinking ship. People all around me were escaping to safety, yet I was still here. How much longer could I continue treading water? When would I eventually drown? I had thrown up my SOS long ago, but no one had come to my rescue. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. All I could do was take one day at a time, blindly walking through the fog, hoping eventually the day would come when I could see straight once again.”
During this dark period of my life, I learned from firsthand experience that sorrow will quickly take over your life if you let it. As new betrayals were discovered and more pieces of my business crumbled away, I made a choice: to fight for what I believed in. And that heartfelt belief? That the American dream was still alive, and that hard work and ethics always pay off.
When the external world threw stones, this belief game me the courage to stand up and keep going.After all, challenges, no matter how great, are really just new opportunities for you to show what you’re made of and be excellent.