Today I want to write about something that I went through that no one talks about yet is very real in the world (stats are in Australia approx 10,000 business thats # per day), and to share my truth. Ive been writing, sharing a lot about my healing but I don’t think anyone understands from what,
This post in actual fact is more for me, as a cathartic ending of a chapter before my new journey begins, but also so I don’t have to answer awkward questions at dinners about CT.
Last year I put my business, my absolute baby, my heart, my soul, my life (for that is what I had allowed it to become, to consume me) into liquidation.
What does this mean?
My business went Bankrupt.
My dreams were bigger than me, the business was bigger than me, my experience and the support I had in the world around me.
It fucking hurt like hell, not just that day when I sent an initial email to my external cfo asking if I was trading insolvent (at that time I didn’t even know what that term meant and the implications they held for me as a director, luckily she replied ‘not at all’ to that email), not just the day (s) prior to this decision when I would walk in unable to breathe, filled with anxiety not knowing any answers , where to look or what to do but regardless having to wear a brave smile on my face for my team, holding on to hope that I would figure it out (one of my best skills is that I am a dreamer…sometimes I wonder if I live in the real world…and I just had so much hope that this wasnt true), not just the day I was advised an ‘answer’ that then led to sitting in the liquidators office just trying not to cry (to say that I was a walking mess would be an understatement - and still am)
To the day I told my staff we were closing. It literally felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. That my eyes werent opening and all I could see and feel was darkness. I invested heavily in my team (some would say to much) and it hurt because we really believed we were building something phenomenal together (mostly….not all staff).
The heartbreak the hurt, the disappointment and the fuck...I failed.
Because I did.
Reading this you can make your judgement, it’s taken me a long time to process and my life has barely been lived, It has been more like a grieving period because I allowed my business to become all of me, and it has felt like my darkest hours.
I allowed my worth to be associated with the business...it defined me.
Closing it, losing it, whatever you want to call it...was like losing myself. My life no longer became worth living.
Yes I failed. I fucked up in a way so Fucking huge I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Yet there’s an average of # businesses in australia going through this, people, families and on the other side, the people that are affected by it.
It’s ugly, it’s a fucking mess, there’s hurt and for sure there is hate.
But life will go on.
For me, as it will for you.
Life is about learning, it’s about growth, it’s about failing, but failing forward.
I am bruised, I am beat the fuck up, battered and broken...but I believe in the beauty of life, of creating a life worth living. It is in our darkest hours we find our true selves…when there is nothing left but you.
We’re the warning signs there, yes? Did I get the right advice? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. I had nowhere to turn and a lack of experience, knowledge and understanding of big business.
To anyone who was affected by this decision, my beloved team, my customers and suppliers, My heartfelt apologies.
Would I change it if I could...of course I would. In fact, the reason I am moving to New Zealand is because i can’t move past this, I thought I was healing, but I am still grieving…it was my baby, my heart… I invested everything, not just money but my life into it. And the loss has left a hole in my heart…so my family and I decided it was time for me to move home, for a little or a long time, but the priority is my life safety…being in a safe place so I can take the hits as they keep rolling in (don’t get me wrong… this loss has also created space for some of the best new opportunities, new partnerships and new friendships that I am incredibly grateful for and in awe of, collateral beauty).
I felt it was time to speak my truth. I want to close this chapter and move forward with life. Ive been mourning, wishing I could change it, sorrow and pain for over 6 months now.
A setback yes, in a huge manner, but I also have been settling in my setback - I mean in this time Ive developed and created new things but I have not allowed myself to feel fully into them because of this healing/loss/grief Ive been immersed in. I am living a discounted version of myself (and a really not good version at that).
Writing this, and letting it out into the world, knowing what may be said about me, but trust me what you may say I have already said to myself a million times over. Knowing the repercussions and judgement I may receive.
But today I chose to live in my light not this shadow (because every night I still have nightmares and every day I still cry).
At the expense of my dream and nearly my life I have learnt the true meaning of collateral beauty - it was the people closest to me, who held my hand my heart and my life in theirs through this period of what felt like shame, disgrace, failure and heartbreak. It was some of my dearest team members who stood beside me as my world crumbled to nothing (whilst they were also experiencing loss).
This is not a pity me or poor me statement in any way at all. I take full responsibility for crashing my company, I was ego driven, uneducated and didn’t make the right decisions when it came to advice, partnerships or direction.
No one is to blame but myself.
But it was time I spoke my truth. Judge me, hate me or love me.
This is a reality of what happens in business, and the ugly, unspoken side of chasing dreams.
I am sharing this because I have felt like I have lived a life alone in the past 6 months. No one speaks about it because its the ugly truth and even though I was seeing a psychologist, they just didn’t get it.
To anyone going through this, with no one to turn to or speak to, know that life is worth living, that time does heal and one day you will feel strong again.
Beyond Blue have an amazing program and assistance particularly designed for entrepreneurs.
Life line are amazing to call and just talk to (crying as i write this).
BUT all endings allow space for new beginnings. As I reflect I want to appreciate and heal…like I did create a business that generated millions, developed over 200 plant based recipes, built my dream space…and enjoyed pure JOY seeing lines out the door for plant based eating. It is not time to reflect but the a hard look at connecting the dots, and learning the lessons.
So…new chapter is taking my learnings and applying them, in @getnked (as Im creative director…the right seat on the bus), and coaching to start ups…get it right from the beginning, with some of the things I wish I knew.
In the words of Ben Howard…keep your head up, keep your heart strong.