My Business Disaster

I once had a wellness center in Long Beach, CA. It was a disaster right from the start. My partner was the total opposite of me - I was a workaholic and she wanted to do nothing but surf. We spent too much money on fancy furniture, a fish tank and a Feng Shui expert to give us useless advice. The big client that kept us in business - and inspired us to open in the first place - broke up with us a few months after we opened and then we barely scraped by for the remaining months of the lease. One year after our grand opening party, we closed the doors and my dad called to say, "You're not a very good business woman, are you?"

I couldn't help but laugh. Dad thought I was crazy. The truth us that until we can love our disasters, we can't love our success.

It doesn't matter whether it's a break-up, an illness, or a bankruptcy, it's the concepts of "good" and "bad" that make us suffer. The Buddha has a teaching about the four pairs of opposites - pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace, gain and loss. We all want the pleasure, praise, fame and gain but we don't want the pain, blame, disgrace and loss. Until we can love all of it unconditionally, we can't love life.

I was talking to a client today who had a huge set-back in her business and returned to her old job. She was beating herself up about not being a "good" entrepreneur. I told her, "You made a terrific decision. Your self-care and safety is a priority. There is no shame in doing what you have to do to take care of yourself. Don't make this a bad thing."

No one knows what's good and what's bad. Maybe she will meet the perfect contact at her old job to restart her business. Maybe she shouldn't even have her own business. Maybe she is supposed to partner with someone else on a business. It's a total mystery. We imagine that everything is supposed to happen a certain way like we see in the movies or magazines. We beat ourselves up and terrorize ourselves with unrealistic expectations. All things are equal in life: pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace, gain and loss. We have to accept all of it.

Until you experience failure as a gift, you still have internal work to do. If you're afraid of it, that shows you where you need to grow. You either believe in the brainwashing from the media, or you question it--there's no other choice. Who cares if you fail? Some people actually prefer failure because it teaches them so much.

What I know about failure is that: you can't have success without making mistakes. It's impossible. No one is born knowing how to run a business or do anything else worthwhile for that matter. When you're clear about that, you can be totally present with your business, and no matter what is happening, it doesn't affect your happiness. You're free to just love your work, love yourself and feel that whatever is happening is exactly what should be.