I am a firm believer that adversity can either make you stronger or break you. And, we get to choose which side we fall on. It sometimes can seem like life is against you. Just when you think you’ve had enough, something else happens to cause more stress and upset at work, at home or in your personal life. Regardless of the events that happen in our lives, the difference between success and failure often is in the decisions we make and the mind set we embrace.
I have seen this over and over again in my own life. A great example of this is my journey through divorce and the need to move and change careers at the same time. At age 31, I found myself in the process of a divorce. Having two daughters, I felt it important that they “see what a woman can do”. And, I felt having my own business would give me the flexibility I needed with my time to be at home when I needed to be. So, I took my children and with no child support, alimony or other source of income, moved 70 miles away and started my own business.
I chose to start a financial planning and asset management business, having never owned a CD, mutual fund or anything other than a savings account and knowing nothing about investing or financial planning. I told myself that even if the business didn’t work out, the knowledge and experience I would gain would be worth it since what I would learn about managing money would help me to raise my children.
Keeping my mind focused on the life and business I needed to build for my children and myself seemed impossible in my current state of mind and with all I was currently dealing with. The divorce made me feel like a failure. And I had gone from living with my parents to being married. So, I was now going to be on my own for the first time in my life and needed to support and care for two children at the same time. I needed to be strong for them and do my best to keep a smile on my face.
I learned that mindset is everything. If you think you can’t do it, you probably cannot. My mantra became “You can do almost anything you want in life, you just have to want it badly enough”. I learned quickly that I needed to focus on my long term vision for my family and my business. Living in the constant fear of how we will get by from day to day will not enable me to build the life and business we need and can also be very depressing. Having a continued focus on and vision of what our future can be, became exciting and gave me something to look forward to. In what felt like a totally out of control life, I was finally starting to feel in control of our future.
I built the business from scratch to one of the top asset management and financial planning practices in the country with the company. After achieving Hall of Fame status, with approx. $200 million in assets under management and 1,200 clients, after 25 years in business, I sold my practice. I now no longer have to work, but enjoy being a national speaker and coach to help business owners do a better job for their clients and improve their bottom line and to help individuals live a successful life and realize their dreams. My first book which will be available in early 2012.
Dwelling on the negative doesn’t help anything. You can decide to use it as a lesson to make your life and the life of others better. Our attitude and outlook on what our future can be is something we have control over, if we work at it.
A few favorite quotes of mine include:
- “Will you allow your circumstances to break you or make you stronger?”
- “You can handle almost anything if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel to know it’s not going to be forever”.
- “It means more when you get there, if you had to work for it.” “It’s progress that matters, not perfection.”
- “Mind set and outlook on our life and business are critical components for success”