Have you ever wondered whether you should just go and get a day job? Quit and join the ant trail on the highway that drives to and from work every day? I know I have.
In fact, once I sat opposite a friend of mine – also a fellow entrepreneur – and I was so “done” that I could barely utter a broken sentence as I cried in to my flat white (coffee).
“What should I do?” I asked. “Should I get a day job? Or should I back myself and start all over again. And can I even do that? Do I have it in me?”
You see, like many entrepreneurs before me I already had several former start-ups under my belt plus a couple of network marketing businesses.
And while one of those endeavours had been highly successful, an inland tsunami had also washed it away.
I had literally gone to work on January 10, 2011 with a high six-figure turning seven-figure business but by night fall it was gone.
When the waters receded and the living buried their loved ones – 38 perished in the Toowoomba floods with another nine still missing – I picked myself up to start from scratch only to be back at square one, two years later.
But this time the disaster was not from Mother Nature rather from human nature with the abrupt end of a 10-year marriage.
Instead of waking up one morning with an almost seven-figure business and going to bed that night with nothing, I would drop my daughter off at school from one address and take her home to another.
It was a canal front home with a 40-foot boat parked out front at breakfast and a rented townhouse – not even in my name – in the afternoon.
During the six hours in between, I would make my bid for freedom hoping that my car – also no longer in my name – would not be reported as stolen, so I would be at school pick-up.
It was terrifying, every sound seemed magnified and every stranger a potential threat. From a joint bank account I had taken six weeks rent to provide a modest buffer.
At night, while my daughter slept I would lay awake wondering how I would pay my bills, how I would feed her – I had no family, no back-up plan, no life line. Sometimes the fears and tears took over.
It was just after lunch and here I sat in broad daylight at Paradise Point, on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, crying into my flat white while asking my girlfriend a series of life-changing decisions.
Now, if you don’t personally know me, you might think I’m a bit of a cry baby .. but nothing could be further from the truth.
As the daughter of a British Special Air Services officer I was raised – not only in challenging environments (like the Middle East) – but to “show no signs of weakness”.
While I didn’t follow my dad into the military, I did chase “bad guys” as an investigative journalist including uncovering terrorist training camps, exposing pedophile priests and chasing axe murderers around golf courses.
And I’d received many death threats in the pursuit of a good story. In my down time, I dabbled with adrenalin sports like full contact amateur boxing, abseiling, rap jumping and kite surfing.
But this was different. Now I had a nine-year-old to feed and that was terrifying.
My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing and my body was on high alert.
I had made it out of a very controlling relationship – onlookers and professionals often bandied around words like emotional, psychological and financial domestic violence.
Just like the tsunami, I had survived; but now what? Did I get a day job? Did I start over? Did I even get to start over?
Do we – as entrepreneurs – get a certain number of start-up chances and then, that’s it? After your fifth failed attempt is it time to call it quits and join the highway ant brigade?
Sure, there are the many famous failure-turned-success stories: New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner bankrupted a team; Milton Hershey started three candy companies before Hershey’s and Steve Jobs was fired from his own company.
But then there are the ones whose names we don’t know.
And those are the ones who throw in the towel be it for whatever reason. And as a former amateur boxer, here I was, propped on a stool, head hanging low, wondering the same.
It felt like I’d gone 11 rounds. My body wasn’t visibly bruised yet my arms and legs were tired from fighting.
Could I go another round? Did I even have it in me? Was there any fight left? I felt broken, shattered, spent.
Luckily I had a good “coach” in my corner. And so I asked my friend to make the decision for me. What did she think, was it time to admit defeat or dig deeper than ever before and “face-up” again.
“Are you kidding me?” she said. “Of course you have to go again, you have so much to offer.”
To be honest, it wasn’t really what I wanted to hear.
The thought of fighting on was exhausting and it no doubt would have been much easier to quit, to get a “day job” and join the motorised march in and out of the city each day.
But then what would have become of me?
No doubt I would have been a stereotypical single parent, exhausted, stressed and short-tempered because my daughter would have been in before and after-school care; with fixed hours and fixed income.
Instead, I took that decision to “go again” and I turned it into a six-figure business within six months, teaching entrepreneurs how to get on TV, on radio and in magazines and newspapers for free.
Within 12 months I had built a six-figure income for myself and my daughter and I had expanded my training into four cities.
And then this year – the third year since making that “go again” decision, I launched a global platform: The Winning Publicity Formula.
Over the past three years I have taught over 2000 entrepreneurs how to get into the media.
I now have students in four countries, on three continents and they have appeared in national and international media.
You see, I was once told that we have two missions in life: 1. Find our unique talent 2. Share that unique talent with the world.
If I hadn’t had gone again, I wonder what may have happened to not only me but to the thousands whose lives I have changed because I shared my unique talent.
Sure, you can promote and live someone else’s passion and join rush hour traffic, but if you want to be a self-backed entrepreneur and make a true impact, it’s time to take the next exit despite the many detours.
~ First published at Flying Solo as How to bounce back when you’ve been knocked down so many times