Yesterday I had a very frank conversation with a close friend. He was describing a situation where he felt like he had failed.
You see, he tried this whole entrepreneur thing and he recently had to get a full-time job. He had to go back working for the man; being an employee. And, in his mind, he failed.
We talked about how hard entrepreneurship is: Not having a steady paycheck, never having a day off, lying in bed wondering how you’re going to be able to make the mortgage.
I know the grass is always greener, but some days working for the man doesn’t sound so bad!
Failing In Order to Learn
We’ve talked a lot on Spin Sucks about failure and how you don’t learn if you don’t make mistakes. And some of you may have already heard this story, but bear with me…there is a point.
In October 2008, the bank called and said that they not only were no longer going to do business with professional services firms, but that they were shutting down our line of credit.
Our payroll, at the time, was $110,000 per pay period. And clients never paid within 30 days so we used the line to carry through the first payroll of the month, paying it back when invoices were paid.
But, suddenly, I was sitting with trying to figure out how to make that 15th payroll without a cushion.
Then the economy really tanked and we lost some clients and we had to let people go. I had no choice.
I found myself sitting at home after work, wallowing in self-pity, and wondering if this world wouldn’t be better off without me. I thought about how my former colleagues must feel about me. I thought about how we hit the pinnacle of success and then bombed it in a serious way.
There were so many things I could have/should have done differently. I never should have relied so heavily on our line of credit. I should have required all employees were fully utilized. I should have hired for skill and not for personality.
I was beating myself up daily and I was spiraling into a deep depression.
And then I found this quote by Confucius:
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
- I promptly wrote that down and taped it to my wall, where I have to see it every day. It knocked some sense into me and I began to think about how I would pick myself up and, essentially, start over.
- When I asked my friend what he learned in the past couple of years, working for himself, he listed about 15 different things. When I asked him how he could apply those lessons to his new job, to his family, and to his friends, he readily had answers that were well thought-out and clear.
So, you see, it’s not in that you never fall, but in how you pick yourself up after you do.