I went out last Friday for a wonderful trike ride. The weather was in the 70s – shorts and t-shirt warm – and being out pushing it felt awesome! I was tearing through the neighborhood, coasting through the large puddle in the cul de sac behind our house, enjoying the day and saying “hi” to neighbors. Friday was my day to push it, to nip that third mile. I was in the far cul de sac, and it happened. That cul de sac isn’t a constant-radius turn, and I lost control and began to tip. In fighting to stay upright and regain control of my trike, the pedals beat the devil out of the backs of my legs.
My trike survived with nary a scratch or ding, and except for that cut (which looks worse than it is) and my legs’ 50 shades of purple, I fared well enough. But now I had a choice. I could walk my trike home, where my older daughter was waiting to ride it, or I could ride it home. Walking was safe enough, though painful as all get-out as bruised and swollen as my legs were.
A little back-story… I never learned how to ride a bike. I tried, but I fell too many times, and one time, I got the wind knocked out of me. That experience scared me as I heard my fourth grade teacher’s voice in my head talking about broken ribs and punctured lungs. That was it for me.
So here I was a vast number of years later facing a choice – walk or ride; it was going to hurt either way. After walking around twenty feet or so, I hopped on my trike and rode home, and not straight home; while I didn’t do the route I had planned, I did add a bit extra to the ride before reaching home and getting cozy with two ibuprofen and an ice pack.
Like many entrepreneurs, I’ve fallen in business, too. I’ve been banged up and bruised, even shed a little O-positive. There have been some failures that made me ultra-sensitive, not wanting anything to touch the disappointment, frustration, discouragement, and/or anger boiling inside me. I wanted to give up, just walk the business back to its settled position, liquidate everything, and find something else to do. The thing is, I visited with that idea. I pulled it out, entertained it, and debated it. I dug deep underneath why I was thinking about quitting, and the answer always came back to frustration or something going on outside of my business.
Regardless of how banged up I was or how bad the business bruises were, I hopped right back in the fray. I didn’t quit nor did I give up. I did give myself permission to whimper and whine, to grab the figurative ice pack and pain killer (usually my favorite cozy pajamas and dark chocolate). After my little pout session – little being the operative word here – I reformed my plan and attacked my business from a different perspective. Without the moments of failure, I would have maintained the status quo, keeping on doing business the same exact way. Sometimes, in fact, those moments of failure are exactly what we need to keep us from taking our progress for granted and to shake us out of old mindsets. Often after a major failure, I reframe my thinking in huge ways and my business experiences significant growth.
Saturday, my family and I went to the beach (you can check out that video on my Facebook page), and my youngest and I took a 2 1/2 mile walk on the beach, banged up legs and everything. Today I was back on the trike for a glorious half-hour ride. There are three cul de sacs in our neighborhood, two of them not having constant-radius curves. I didn’t avoid them; I just slowed down and created a constant-radius response with my trike. I learned how to do it different, just as I do in business.
In business, as in life, there are failures and falls. The important thing is, “Never give up. Never, ever give up” (Winston Churchill).