Five Rules to Rebound from Failure
How to pick up the pieces after a small-business setback.
Failure of any kind can be a setback for entrepreneurs, but it doesn't have to spell disaster. I'm the perfect example. I've been rejected by the Marines and I flunked out of law school. The real kicker came in 1998 when a former business partner at a debt-collection company of mine was convicted of fraud. Even though he admitted to committing the fraud without my knowledge, I was indicted on 57 felony counts and my assets were frozen. While I was cleared of all charges four years later, I wound up filing for bankruptcy protection and lost a personal fortune in business equity to the tune of about $3 billion. My only asset left was my house.
Sounds devastating, right? But despite my failures I have been able to pick up the pieces and come through it all with a strong self-image. I attribute that to having a healthy perspective on what failure should and should not mean to me.
When faced with any setback, here are five rules that have helped me over the years and can help you, too.
Don't pretend it never happened.
People are often so anxious to avoid the stigma of failure that they refuse to admit what happened. Denial usually results in a host of other problems, including internal stress and delaying any effective remedy.
The late Dale Carnegie, a well-regarded lecturer and author of the bestseller "How to Win Friends and Influence People," said that when you're quick to admit that you screwed up, your peers will stop holding your feet to the fire and actually begin to comfort you.
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