Owning a business is stressful even in the very best of times. Being in business for yourself takes an extreme amount of responsibility and can bring up a lot of emotions that some may not have ever experienced before starting their business. There are so many factors to consider in business that it can become extremely overwhelming even when the business appears to be running smoothly on the surface. But what about when there is a bump in the road, a rough patch, or even a major business failure? These emotions are exponentially more intense than the normal stress of the business running smoothly. Keeping in mind that it is near impossible to run a business that runs completely smooth with no issues from the beginning – that is just not realistic. So when a problem does arise, how do we deal with it? We heard from industry leaders in this week’s episode of the Making Bank podcast about times when they were very vulnerable in business, and how being open and honest with themselves about their situation, in turn, helped them move past these failures.
Changing Self-Limiting Thoughts
Our first guest this week was Cody Sperber. When he first started out, he was very hard and critical on himself, which was holding him back in business. He had a particularly strong inner critic that was making him feel bad about everything, from his looks to the vehicle he drove. With a lack of confidence like that in your personal life, it will inevitably spill over into your business practices or ability to run a successful business. Once Cody was able to realize these thoughts were holding him back, he was able to make changes within himself. Cody had to admit to himself that these were only thoughts, and negative thoughts at that, and these were not truths. He did the work within himself and came out on top by believing in himself and now runs a very successful business. Being able to change that toxic pattern of thinking is a major success itself, but to be able to go on and succeed in business is a glowing example of how being honest with yourself and open to making changes can completely change your life. Bottom line: it is so easy to fall into the trap of being your own worst enemy, but it is exactly that, a trap.
Acknowledging Failure as an Inevitable Part of Business, Not a Character Flaw
Failures are going to happen in business. Whether these failures are big or small, often or infrequent, it is a part of business. The real lesson comes from how you as a business owner handle these issues as they arise. Some of our guests this week spoke about failing literally one hundred times. That is a lot of failure to overcome. That rate of frequent failing can chip away at the confidence of even to the most stable business owners. Being able to remain persistent and learn from each and every one of those failures can be an amazing lesson in business, albeit a difficult succession of events. If, as a business owner, you can stomach that rate of failure and learn from it, that resilience shows an amazing amount of strength, persistence, and drive to succeed. Failures are viewed differently by every business owner and throughout every industry; some can weather the storm of many small failures in succession, but what happens when a big mistake threatens everything? That is what happened to our guest, Aaron Stokes. One big problem threatened everything: his business, his emotional well-being, and even his personal relationships with his wife and family. That being said, there were other smaller mistakes made along the way, but one big problem is what almost crushed Aaron in every aspect of his life. In 2012, Aaron’s business was on the verge of making a million dollars, a huge success for any business owner – a million dollars is a very exciting goal to reach. That same year, Aaron’s business subsequently lost a million dollars. Not only is that financially horrifying but an emotional rollercoaster as well. He was desperate. He knew he had really messed up and was looking to do whatever he could to keep his business’ name in good standing, which is what he did at great expense to himself. In order to save his business, he took the last of his family’s personal savings and transferred the funds into his business account. Needless to say, this negligence outraged his wife, disappointed his family, and, in turn, he disappointed himself as well. He was in a very dark place and knew that major changes had to be made. Aaron had to admit to himself his mistakes and make himself accountable for poor choices that lead up to the big break that year, both in business and personally. That is an intense amount of pressure coming from all angles; he was failing his family, his business was failing, and he wasn’t proud of how he had been handling the entire situation. Aaron needed to better his situation. He needed to repair his business and his familial obligations. Aaron started to read and attend seminars to educate himself on how to fix the mess he had gotten himself into. In one of these seminars, the attendees were asked to share their story. At first, Aaron didn’t want to share his failures in a room of 90 people all staring at him, but he found the courage and got up there to speak. After he spoke, he felt like his story wasn’t well received, and he thought he may even be asked to leave the seminar, so he started packing up his belongings. But, in fact, the opposite happened. As he was going to leave, he was approached by many other attendees inquiring further into his situation. This surprised Aaron. He was now able to use his story to inspire others and create a silver lining on his journey to recovery. He had to go through a horrible time in his life to be able to get to the point he is today. He had to admit the hard truths to himself to be able to become a better business owner, a better husband, and a better version of himself.
Failures are going to happen in business, but failures don’t have to define your business. All of the guests this week had to be brutally honest with themselves about their emotions in order to push through dark times, but they all learned from their experiences and are better for it now. So if you’re facing a problematic time with your business, take a look at the bigger picture, be honest with yourself, and take the necessary steps to move forward.