before striking out on his own in 1997. He became a full-time consultant for these companies, using the money he earned and personal savings–about $58,000 altogether–to start his business, including the construction of a new, penthouse office suite. But when his consulting assignments slowed down, Brown lost his main source of financing. His money ran out and work on the office space–for which he was already paying rent–was halted. With no access to any other capital at press time, passion is all that is keeping him going.
“I sold off everything to accomplish this and worked very long, hard hours to see this dream happen,” says Brown. “I want to do my part to make [Newark] one of the most prosperous cities to ever come back from a sometimes unlucky past. I do not intend to stand on the sidelines and do nothing to help,” he says of his hometown.
Do you lose sight of your passion when hard times come? List the reasons why you initially enjoyed the task you undertook, or made the goal that you set for yourself. Keep them posted in a well-trafficked area, and refer to them often. They will serve as your motivators (see Strategy #10) during challenging times.
Learn from other people’s knowledge. “When you stumble, learn from other people who have attained what you are trying to attain,” advises Mike Howard, president of MB Howard & Associates, a peak performance training and motivational company based in Atlanta. “Learn from their experiences and the knowledge they have gained from being knocked down.”
Talk to people in your p
rofessional organizations and/or business networking circles about their experiences. You can also find examples of people who overcame obstacles via the printed word. To help him keep his focus, Brown immerses himself in the Bible, business magazines, and biographical sketches of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in times past. Brown is adopting the strategies used by others–he cites Dennis Kimbro’s book What Makes the Great Great: Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement (Doubleday, $13.95) as an especially inspirational read–in order to overcome his own professional obstacles.
Don’t let pride get in the way of recovery. Be mindful that tangible success is never an end point, but a springboard to the next level of opportunity, says Smith. That said, sometimes the brainchild that allowed you to get to this point could be the very thing that causes you to fail if you cling to it when the tide changes.
When you find yourself saying, “This will catch on if I just stick with it,” and you’re many months or years into a professional or personal goal and haven’t made any progress, beware. It’s probably time to let go and move on to the next level. Your success won’t be grounded in one idea–no matter how brilliant you may think it is–but in the ability to continually draw new boxes and keep reconfiguring them as your situation changes.
Erase self-imposed limits. A setback is a chance to reevaluate your strategy and your personal definition