It was a REMARKABLE moment when I realised what my problem was and why I was STUCK in my business!
I graduated from High School when I was 16. Went off to college for a year but couldn’t afford to go back to continue with my studies.
For four years after that I did odd jobs- mostly waiting tables.
At 21 I had the opportunity to go back to college.
I had to start over. From the beginning.
I was desperate to get out of the poverty and a hopeless future.
Grateful for another opportunity to study, I worked hard at college. Harder than I’d ever worked at anything in my life.
When I started working as a journalist, I continued to graft hard.
I pushed. Because I valued, so highly, the opportunity to be working a job I had always dreamed of having.
I did well. Built a name for myself.
I’d done it! And I was super proud of me.
Years after that achievement I began my own business. Which for the most part struggled.
At one point I’d hit a rock bottom so low that I shut the doors of my operation, crawled into bed and honestly wished I could die.
I had failed and I was void of any hope that things could turn around.
When, eventually, I picked myself up again and decided to give business another bash- I found myself in the same cycle of failure I’d experienced before.
That sinking, crippling feeling begun to return.
I could feel failure hounding me- I was terrified because I didn’t think I could survive another rock bottom.
The turnaround in my business begun when I started to realise that my main downfall was pride.
I was so proud of my achievements and the success I’d experienced in my career that I’d thought that success would simply carry on into my new venture in business.
But it didn’t work that way. It couldn’t.
It was hard to accept that, in a sense, I was, at this stage of my life, in a very similar place I was in at 21 and having to start college from scratch.
A huge part of me was ashamed. To be starting over. To be starting small. So late in my life!
But I believed in what I was doing.
I could’ve gone back to a job- that would’ve been far easier. I knew the work. I’d done it for so long I could do it with my eyes shut. But business… this was a new arena. A terrifying place that I’d never been trained to navigate.
Every rejection I received I took personally. It hurt. Bad.
But then I had to make another choice: I could roll over and die- or I could take very seriously the mission of my life.
If I chose the latter it meant accepting starting over.
It meant learning how to handle the rejection and keeping at it.
It meant knocking on countless doors telling my story and marketing my vision and product like crazy!
It meant working harder than I’d ever worked because this is what it’d take! That. Or watch my dreams shrivel and die a cruel and lonely death.
The thing is, one of the main reasons businesses fail is because us owners aren’t willing to do what it really takes!
In one of the projects we’re doing- I’d begun to feel I wasn’t cut out for this.
One business executive who’d been advising us told me: “You’re going to have to grow a spine! Ask anyone who’s made it doing what you’re doing now- ask them if they got it first time they knocked on a door! NONE of them will tell you that that’s how it happened. For some it took years! You CAN’T get despondent! You’ve got to keep on going! Keep on knocking on those doors until your dream comes true!”
Working at achieving my dream has been anything but glamorous.
There’ve been days when I’d look at my operation and cringing, my soul would yell: “We really are pathetic!”
But still, I carried on.
While I Love what I do, and labour ferociously at serving others through my work, do you know that I still carried that sense of frustration and a tinge of shame for being at a place of starting over?
But then I met a woman. Who, for me, epitomises the concept of starting over.
And how glorious it can be if we allow it.
She’d been married 18 years. In those 18 years she’d suffered incredible abuse from her husband.
Eventually she left him.
As she was picking up the pieces of her life (after the divorce) and getting to the place of restoration and strength- she met a man, who at first had swept her off her feet, but then, turned out to be a horror!
He’d beaten her so badly that years later she still suffers from the effects of the injuries he inflicted on her.
Today she says she’s in the best place she’s ever been! Because, finally, she knows who she is. And she’s living life on her terms!
Her name is Ashika Ramparsad and she is a profound individual.
Many things struck me about Ashika’s story. They inspired and challenged me. Among them, how hard she works.
She told me that as long she’s able, she will do. And nothing will stop her from achieving her goals!
As I listened to Ashika speak I thought to myself: Hannah! How dare you despise small beginnings! How dare you feel any kind of shame for starting over? How dare you feel entitled to success just because you felt you’d paid your dues!
For many of us the journey of achieving our goals will require that we start over.
It’s hard. And it’s difficult. And it’s FAR from glamorous!
But if we’re to truly answer the call on our lives then this process is necessary. And unavoidable.
I consider the emails that I receive on what my work has meant for some people- and as hard as it has been to start over, if asked, Was it worth it?
I’d answer: “Look at the lives that are changing as a result. I’d have to say, Yes, it has been, and continues to be, worth it.”