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A Series of Unfortunate Events: How Entrepreneurs Can Endure in the Face of Adversity

2 minutes Read

by Chris Meyers

**Note from CAN Capital: As part of our Back to School series, our partners at BodeTree offer School Counselor-style advice on dealing with setbacks.  

Face of Adversity 3Every entrepreneur’s journey is different, but I’ve yet to come across anyone who hasn’t faced crushing disappointment at one point, or another. Entrepreneurship is a grisly business, and disappointment is simply an inherent part of the experience.

Dealing with a single unfortunate situation is something that anyone can do. Dealing with a series of disappointments, however, is entirely different. When faced with a streak of unfortunate situations, entrepreneurs must learn to stay strong for the sake of the team and their own sanity. Over the past six years of running BodeTree, I’ve had to contend with more disappointment than I care to admit. Here’s how I learned to endure in the face of adversity.

Don’t try to hide your scars

Every disappointment, failure, or setback leaves scars on your spirit and psyche. Even if you manage to overcome the challenge you’re facing, disappointment changes you. For better or worse, it impacts your outlook on your life, your business, and your abilities.

There is a strong temptation among entrepreneurs to try and hide the scars of disappointments past. This approach is as wrong as it is counter-productive. The scars that we gain along the entrepreneurial journey help to smooth out our rough edges as individuals and helps us grow on a personal level.

By trying to hide your emotional scars, you do a disservice to yourself and countless other entrepreneurs who have gone before you. Suck it up, accept the fact that bad things happen, and keep moving forward. That is the only way to avoid falling into the trap of cynicism.

Don’t give in to cynicism

It’s easy to become cynical about this crazy life. As of writing this, I’m dealing with the aftermath of a major deal falling through, and the temptation to be cynical is strong.

Over the years, I’ve had several major, game-changing opportunity slip through my fingers. One such deal fell apart fairly recently. It was a unique partnership/investment opportunity with a large, well-known bank. The deal would have accelerated our already rapid growth and opened up countless new avenues for the business.

The pain of the loss is still strong, and it would be easy for me to be negative about the situation. Still, if I were to give into cynicism, I’d only be hurting myself, my team, and my company. Cynicism is the ultimate in self-indulgence. It feels good in the moment, but ultimately it’s a cop-out. The more difficult, yet more righteous path is to find the strength to persevere, even in the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Don’t give up

Business, like life, and football, is a game of inches. Most successful businesses are defined by the sum of all of the little decisions and interactions that happen each and every day, and not by grand strategic moves. This simple truth puts the responsibility on both leaders and teams to make every single moment count.

When faced with disappointment you can either crumple up in defeat or keep moving forward. Successful people demonstrate true grit and keep moving inch by inch, moment by moment, even in the face of disappointment and setbacks.

As for me? I’m going to keep moving forward, no matter what. I have a strong team, great product, and amazing backers. There’s no question that this deal would have been great for everyone involved. However, I won’t waste a moment mourning what could have been.

There’s no doubt about it: creating, running, and growing a business is hard. Entrepreneurs will encounter disappointment, and more often than not it will come in succession. The only way to survive, both personally and professionally, is to accept the scars you earn, avoid cynicism, and keep moving forward.

About the author — Chris Myers is the Cofounder and CEO of BodeTree, a web application designed to help small businesses manage their finances. This blog originally appeared on BodeTree.com.

Photo credit: alphaspirit/shutterstock.com

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