What If You Decided That Every Failure Was Just A Powerful Story?

So here’s a question for you: what was your most epic business failure?

Chances are, you don’t talk about it much (unless you’re still in the midst of it).

Hey, I get it—we all have an ego and public embarrassment sucks.

Or maybe you think that since you’re an expert, failure shouldn’t have happened to you. That admitting failure would be like saying you’re just not good enough at what you do (unlike those perfect folks in your Instagram feed).

But what if you decided that every failure was just a powerful story?

The kind where we fall from grace, crawl back up and find redemption—like the story arc of your favorite Hollywood movie.

Take my pal “Ben”. He’d built his first consulting business from scratch—earning a reputation for insightful work and outsized results.

He sold that firm for seven figures and went on to buy a similar but struggling business. He leveraged his talents and pretty quickly made his new firm a player. Sale number two was an eight-figure deal.

So Ben decided to really put his turnaround prowess to the test. He sunk most of his proceeds into a still bigger firm that desperately needed a dramatic turn-around.

But this deal was far from a slam-dunk: it was in a new niche, with a leadership team at war with each other and a declining client base.

Oh and he paid a premium for the firm, just before the 2008 crash.

Yep, welcome to Ben’s epic failure.

There’s no making this pretty—it was a bloodbath. Every day was a battle: he laid off good people, saw 50% of his investment go up in smoke and put his entire net worth (and reputation) on the line to ensure they had the cash flow to survive.

Eventually he walked away with about 75% of his investment and some hard earned gray hair. He was bone weary, feeling like he could never do it again.

And yet.

After some rest and introspection he came to realize that this experience was actually his most powerful transformation story.

That his belief system (and his mettle) hadn’t truly been tested until he’d come up against real adversity.

Ben made the decision to see his experience as a powerful story.

One he could use to teach himself (he claims a new found appreciation for humility) as well as his audience.

He started sharing his new story slowly in one-to-one conversations and was thrilled to discover that it was sticky.

It allowed him to connect with his people emotionally—deeper than his success filled prior life had ever enabled.

And while he clearly remembers the desperate feelings of being in the midst of his greatest challenge, he no longer sees it as a failure.

Instead it is his most powerful story.

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