This topic is close to my heart.
You see, I have lived through it…
I was forced to make the decision to close the doors of my business due to an adversarial cyber-attack. The emotional rollercoaster having to make that decision, a business I had invested my blood sweat and tears into, looming financial ruin from a court battle where a supplier was trying to bankrupt me, rental arrears which saw my 12 month lease not being renewed, having to make decisions such as do I only eat only 2 meals a day or do I take my car out of the driveway?
Pretty much, I’ve been through the depths of despair that many of you are now facing.
I truly empathise how you are feeling as you deal with trying to survive in the trenches locked down as you come to terms with the devastating impact of COVID-19 on your business.
The sadness and grief that would pour out of me anytime someone would ask why I no longer was operating the business, the grief at how I had allowed my business to define me, my identity impacted so badly because the business was my passion, my why.
Yet here I am 2 years later having pivoted and relaunched.
That former business now holds a fond memory, like some old love I have grieved and moved on.
Nothing I did in building that business was wasted. In fact, it gave me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people along the way who are still in my life today.
I hope by sharing my story and the lessons I’ve learned along the way will help you find the strength to pivot and relaunch amongst what must seem ‘against all odds.’
To be honest when it happened, I was so Mac trucked I vowed I would never open another business again.
I couldn’t imagine having another business that was so meaningful yet here I am today happily rebuilding believe it or not as a Change Agency.
COVID-19 lockdown coincided the same week I launched my online course on:
“The Rise of the Superconnector: Leaving Networking jerks for Power Circle Influencers.”
It was a course on how to network rolled out the very week networking events were cancelled.
I remember thinking, “FFS Universe gimme a break!”
I should have been devastated, angry and sad but I wasn’t. Maybe it was because my new business was only 12 weeks old, but I think it was more the lessons I learned from loss that has enabled me to quickly adapt, reinvent, pivot and relaunch.
The valuable lessons I learned were as follows:
It’s hard to explain this but after the cyber-attack me and owning a business were done. I vowed I’d never open another business.
The attack was so brutal that I didn’t have anything left to give. It felt when I started this new business, I couldn’t give a s%*it if it was a success or not. If I simply could put food on the table, I was happy.
All my grand dreams of what I wanted my business to be that I had attached myself to in the past, the expectations I had, the meanings I gave to the outcome, all resulted in one thing… me becoming highly anxious for it to succeed and sad and devastated when I lost it.
Then as I adopted the attitude to ‘let go’ and allow the universe to take this business where it may I have had a constant flow of prospects wanting to work with me ever since.
ADVICE: If you are feeling sad about the financial devastation to your business because of COVID-19 I would suggest if you could stay present as possible and not allow your mind to wander off into the future or get stuck in the pain of the past, you will be able to find a way to acceptance feeling gratitude for all you have in the here and now.
Looking back to when the cyber-attack happened it was my network that saved me. Through my network within hours I was offered a casual job prospecting for a Real Estate business.
Business owners who I had met over the years and built deep meaningful relationships with at networking groups rallied together to give me one day a week subcontracting work, so I was able to leave my casual job.
Complete strangers donated groceries once they heard I was close to bankruptcy and could not pay my rent. Others gave me cash with no expectation for it to be repaid. I was blown away.
It taught me a valuable lesson that relationships are key to building business growth and they are key to saving you when the chips are down.
ADVICE: If you are able to reach out now to all your business relationships and work out ways you can work together whilst you are in survival mode, the power of that support will ease any sadness you are experiencing right now. If you have not invested in these business relationships and don’t feel you can call on them find ways to reconnect and start the process of reaching out not to ask for help but to give it. Nurture relationships anyway possible as they will always come back to serve you.
I distinctly remember the knot in my stomach as I faced the prospect of living month by month and an unhappy landlord who were deciding if I would stay. I really was on the edge of homelessness.
Some days I would look up at the sky and say “You’ve thrown just about everything at me and I am still here!!!! ” almost like I was thumbing my nose to the universe this higher power I could not see that just seemed to be serving it up to me, when the penny dropped.
I am ok. I will be okay if I have faith that what was coming my way was meant to be. As I said, my network came to my aid, I started to see little things that were coming my way to help in ways I did not think was possible.
A bit like that Rolling Stones song “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you get what you need.”
The more present I was, the more I meditated I started to see small things I would normally miss just show up to help me get to the next level. Soon gratitude replaced sadness.
ADVICE: Understand that no matter what there is going on for you right now, there is a grand plan for us all. If you can let go, give up the control and allow the universe to unfold whatever the grand design is for your business going forward will unfold. All will be good once you get into a state of allowing.