I recently found an old photograph from 2000 of me with my then business partner, from the Sunday Business Post. Apart from the fact that I was about 25 lbs lighter and the grey that has now fully engulfed my head was only starting to show in, it reminded me of a very good, positive time. We had achieved a huge amount in such a short time in the business and as a result we were about to be bought out and funded to launch in the UK.
I can recall thinking that this was the break that I had been working so hard for over the previous 7-8 years, the opportunity to build a great business whilst really making a difference. Little did I know what would come to pass over the period between then and now, or even over the following 18 months to 2 years, but it would teach me a lot about the nature of things.
We were acquired by another company and effectively all our financial concerns were sorted out, we thought! Within a year, a power struggle and a change in the top management in the parent company saw our Irish and UK operations shut down and we were sued, because we weren’t prepared to accept it. The deep pockets of the big corporation ensured that they got justice and resulted in us being significantly worse off financially than we were where we began – and we were left with no business!
Needless to say, if the photograph had been taken at that time, it would have shown a significantly different person, demeanour and mood than the one from just a couple of years previously. However, this state of doom and gloom didn’t last long and within just six months of this crushing blow, we were up and running again, creating something new and on an upward curve.
And it would be great to say that it kept going on a positive trajectory from that point forward. Alas no, alas yes. The cycle continued! And it has taught me so much.
I have learned that life is all about ups and downs – that it is normal. We might fight against it and not want things to change but that is just how it is. Arguing with reality, with what is, is futile and the source of so much unnecessary anger, frustration, sadness and wasted energy spent on regrets.
Understanding that it ebbs and flows, sometimes with ease, sometimes with difficulty, but never staying in any one position, allows us to be free and reduces our suffering when adversity strikes. And the reality is that we are always on some part of the curve, on the way up or down, whether we realise it or not.
For example, in the past week alone I have heard of people who are on different stages of their own curve, one who landed a great job after a difficult couple of years, one who got the tap on the shoulder to say that he was no longer required, one who just secured a big order with a multinational retailer and another whose business partner decided to pull out of their business.
New beginnings and new endings all!
So, I always try to remember that when things are going well: to be sensible, positive and courageous. Enjoy it, live in the moment, but understand that it is the nature of things for change to happen because it is happening right now.
On the other hand, when things are not going so well or even where you have suffered a crushing blow, that too is transient, part of the learning, part of the experience of life and part of the growth and things will change – just keep moving forward and keep showing up.
And keep the following quote from W. Clement Stone in mind:
“Every great person, every successful person, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”
Photo from Spyro the Dragon on Shutterstock