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Everyone grapples with setbacks and obstacles on the path to success. Sometimes, a breakdown can lead you to a significant breakthrough. Here’s how seven successful entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles overcame a setback to fast-track their ultimate success.
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Appreciate that failure presents a defining moment
“At 39 years old, I started having terrible chest pain but ignored it. Eighteen months later, I discovered I had a 99.75 percent blockage in my main artery.
At the time, I was in the middle of negotiating with Prudential for a $72 million loan to purchase my company. When I learned that I needed immediate surgery, I asked my doctor if he thought my blocked artery was a sign I shouldn’t buy.
He asked, “Do you love what you do?” I said, “It’s my passion.” He then replied, “Then you must go through with the purchase, or the stress of not buying the company could end up being worse for you.” He was right.
After my surgery, I headed to New York to finish our negotiations. When things got heated between the parties, I took one of the bankers aside and explained my situation. Hearing the sincerity in my voice, Prudential knew I was the right buyer, and we closed the deal.
Sometimes, an unforeseen setback will present you with a defining moment. Major challenges can force you to muster the resolve to achieve your greater purpose.”
Trust your gut about character
“Everyone says they learn from their mistakes but too often repeat them.
In the past, I didn’t trust my gut about people. Some executives on my team seemed to be self-serving and actively working against their colleagues. I ignored it, but my gut turned out to be true.
The lesson? Trust yourself more. Be unforgiving about character and loyalty. Remember, there’s no trade-off — if someone doesn’t have the right character, it doesn’t matter if they have the right skill set. It’s a huge mistake to hire them.”
Clarify your why
“My business failures usually stem from personal limitations or not being clear about the “why.”
In my first venture of running a brewing company, my “why” (if I’d even thought of it) was simply to be an entrepreneur and enjoy free beer for life. That sounded pretty reasonable to me as a Navy SEAL transitioning into the business world.
But my “why” proved too weak to weather the early chaos of starting a new venture. The fallout caused lawsuits and major family disruption since the partners were also my brothers-in-law.
The painful lesson I learned is this: Make sure the “why” behind your concept is very clear and aligned with your vision for your future. In my current training company, we teach leaders how to clarify their personal ethos so their entrepreneurial endeavors completely align with their calling.
Here’s my ethos to help you get clearer on yours. My passions are: breathe, meditate, move, learn, read, explore, grow, teach, lead, write, inspire, create and love. My purpose is to develop, live and teach the philosophy of my training company. My vision is a resilient, integrated and peaceful world. My mission is to train 100 million world-centric leaders and help build dynamic teams by 2040.”
Kill the good to achieve the great
“The good is always the enemy of the great. My biggest failure didn’t come in the form of a catastrophic loss, but a necessary sacrifice. I had to choose to cannibalize my own business so it could grow.
Our company’s platform (which drove our growth for four years) had inherent flaws and irreparable shortcomings. I knew it had to go but the idea of destroying it was scary as hell.
If you’re genuinely pursuing the great, make those hard choices. You need to be capable of sacrificing the good. Do it quickly, and direct that fear into creating the great as its replacement.”
Failure unleashes the power within
“A few years ago, I put my trust into a promising investment fund that presented a track record of consistent returns, looked great on paper and came highly recommended.
Within a short time span, the fund declared bankruptcy. Compounded by a series of other events, I lost everything financially. My financial net worth was less than zero.
I felt crushed, like a total failure. I didn’t want to eat, couldn’t sleep and had panic attacks where my hands and legs would shake uncontrollably. I played the soundtrack of doubt, blame, guilt, shame and regret on auto-repeat within my mind.
In retrospect, this experience was one of God’s greatest gifts to me. When everything external is stripped away, you realize your self-worth is not tied to your net worth. You realize that your worth supersedes the visible, physical world and transcends into the invisible, energetic and spiritual realm.
Unless you’ve been pushed beyond certain limits, this wisdom is never activated. Looking back, losing everything taught me to dig deeper into a power I never realized was within me.”
Vet your partners and solve problems
“My biggest failure was setting up a partnership without vetting my partner’s work ethic and follow-through. I sold a ton of services that were reliant on my partner. Soon, the business faced severe bottlenecks.
Eventually, I had to walk away from the partnership and completely start over. This forced me to become better at sales by focusing on how my product would give my customers their desired outcome. Soon, I was crafting solutions that solved problems, but more importantly, we could deliver on and profit from them.”
The only thing you can control is you
“Let’s get real. My biggest failure was in my personal life. I had four kids aged 6, 8, 10, and 12 when my wife wanted out.
Here’s how I turned it around. I immediately started anger management. My counselor told me to find something I loved and sink myself into it. So, I started writing music again, which was always my passion. The torment of what I was experiencing created some good music and lyrics. I worked on what I could control: me. I focused on my kids, being a great dad, my work, and how I could create something bigger than me.
We still got divorced, and I’m far from perfect, but the divorce became my inspiration to live better, love more, fight harder, and to be a better human in all things.
The only thing you can control in any situation is you. Fight to become the best version of you, and you’ll come out better on the other side.”
Originally published on Forbes.com ©2018 by Forbes Media LLC. All rights reserved.