After I graduated from university, I realized my dream of becoming an entrepreneur and opening a spa. At first, business was booming. Three years later, the spa was hemorrhaging money. I realized that the only way to get my life back was by filing for bankruptcy.
Although I was crushed when I lost my business, I learned that bankruptcy could give me a clean slate so I could reinvent myself.
I committed to learning everything I could about business, so I would never experience that kind of failure again. I hired business coaches, attended seminars and took continuing education courses. I eventually became a successful certified executive coach and facilitator.
Here’s what I learned about how to recover from bankruptcy:
- Organize your finances. If you went bankrupt because you didn’t understand where your money was going, it’s time to get organized. Downsize. Get rid of your loans and credit cards. Live on cash.
- Get a job. This can be tough if you’re an entrepreneur. However, you don’t need to keep this job forever. It’s just temporary until you get on your feet. If you already have a job, now’s not the time to do anything risky.
- See the gap. When I commit to getting a result, the first thing I do is visualize the gap between where I am now and where I want to be. When you’re recovering from bankruptcy, this can be a huge gap. However, don’t freak out. Taking baby steps can help you get your confidence back and achieve your goals.
- Don’t listen to negative self-talk. When I went bankrupt, I had to ignore those voices in my head that told me I was a failure. I gave myself permission to make mistakes, so I could get help and rebuild my life.
- Seek help. At first, I was afraid to discuss my bankruptcy with my family and friends. Once I opened up, I received a lot of compassion. Sharing your emotions can relieve some of your burdens.
- Don’t become paralyzed. If you’re dealing with bankruptcy, you may want to curl into a ball and avoid everyone. However, the only way to recover is to face your challenges head on. Talk to a friend. Take a class. Learn from your mistakes. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
- See the silver lining. Bankruptcy can give you an opportunity to change direction or start over. Understand what your silver lining is and hold it closer than the negativity that surrounds it.
One of the biggest lessons that bankruptcy taught me is that I always get what I want, but it doesn’t always happen how I wanted it to. I wanted to be a great business person, but didn’t know I’d have to go bankrupt to get there.
Remember, success is the gift you get from implementing your learning from failing.
Sophie Boyko is a Sales & Leadership strategist in the Greater Toronto Area. Sophie coaches and trains sales leaders and their teams on how to deepen communications skills, change behaviours in others and drive higher sales performance. Nominated by The Women’s Post as one of “The Women to Watch in 2013,” Sophie has worked with many of North America’s top producing companies including BMO, CIBC, RBC, Bell, Manulife Financial, First Canadian Title, Pfizer, Meridian and US Cellular to name a few.