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Bouncing Back

Posted April 22nd, 2013 by Martin Presse with No Comments

As speakers and business owners the hardest thing we have to do on a regular basis is to rebound after failure. I really believe that business owners are, by nature, risk takers. Being in business is not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to have guts and believe in yourself in the face of immense adversity.

The question today is, how do you bounce back from a failure. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time you’ll have had one. My biggest failure happened in 1999 with the dismal collapse of my first company. I owned a computer consulting firm. Looking back I had no business being in business.  I didn’t know what an invoice was, how to calculate taxes, much less how to negotiate a contract. It was a horrible experience. I bought the business when it had fourteen very lucrative clients. Within eight months I had two.  I called them and told them I was leaving the company. I even helped them find a new consultant. It was the only way I could feel better about myself. I had lost fifty pounds in eight months. I was down to my last hundred dollars. Fortunately I had luck on my side. I called my former employer and was given my old job back. It was the luckiest day of my life. Had I waited another week to make that call I would have been in serious financial trouble.

I’ve done some research on how to bounce back and I’ve found close to fifty different tips. I’ve decided instead to give you what has worked for me in the past. My personal style has always been to keep thing simple. I hope this information helps to keep things simple for you.

1) It’s a mistake. It doesn’t define you. Making a error in judgment does not translate into you being ignorant, lazy or immoral. You made a mistake. What you do now is what will define you. If you lied, own up to up. If you forgot to call someone, own up to it. Make the situation right as soon as you can.

2) Learn from your mistake. Once you’ve made the situation right think about what happened and what can be learned. If you enjoy writing, go ahead in detail what happened and review it from time to time so the lesson remains fresh in your mind. It’s the same reason I review my vision state frequently. It has to stay at the forefront of everything I do. Learn from the mistakes and don’t become confident that you forgot you actually made them.

3)Maintain Perspective. I dislike being overly dramatic but understand that in 99.99% of the situations where you made a mistake, loss of life and limb aren’t likely to happen.  Your mistakes will be with clients or with yourself.  Be thankful losing a client was the only thing. Get up the next morning. Eat your favorite breakfast, go for a walk and know it isn’t the end of the world. When I lost the World Championships of Public Speaking I felt horrible for about six months. I felt certain I had it in me to finish in the top three. I made a horrible error in judgment by writing a new speech 72 hours before the contest. I completely lost my perspective and tortured myself for six months. I’m sure everybody had a great breakfast the next day and had completely forgotten my bad speech. Wish I had maintained that perspective.

4) Grieve. Allow yourself to go through the grieving process if your mistake was large enough to cost you your employment. Take time for yourself, be angry, be sad, and finally seek resolution. I recall going to a therapist after my business failure. It was the best thing I could have done. It helped me see that my anger wasn’t unreasonable. I was able to reconcile my failure, see the mistakes for what they were and start moving forward.

This has been a very short blog on bouncing back after experiencing failure. The key is to bounce back. Anybody can get knocked down but so many people stay down. I’ve heard it said that the winner is the person who got up just once more than anybody else.  I love what Baz Luhrman said in his song from  1997, ” The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”   The real winners in this world are those who bounce back after taking a hit and are willing to put themselves out there again, hit after hit. Don’t let your failures define you. Let them frame you, shape you and alter your character. Let them make you strong and unruffled, silently content in the wisdom that only you know how strong you really are.




Keep Doing What You Love…

Posted March 17th, 2010 by Martin Presse with No Comments

Somebody asked me today when it was that I finally became comfortable speaking in front of an audience. I think what they were really asking was, “When did you stop wanting to throw up and look forward to being on stage?”

Good question. To begin, every speaker still gets nervous. Some events make you more nervous than others. Some audiences frighten you more than others and some days you just don’t feel right about your speech. Thankfully the more you speak the fewer days you’ll have like the ones I mentioned above. Why is that? Speaking is a muscle, the more use it the better and stronger it becomes. The more you speak the more comfortable you’ll become being in front of different types of audiences, whether they be college students, businessmen or engineers…eventually you’ll be so confident that you’ll actually look forward to delivering your message. You’ll still be a little nervous but it’s a good nervous.

In 2008, I was fortunate enough to reach the finals in Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. What a thrill it should have been… unfortunately it wasn’t. I gave a very lackluster speech, disappointed myself and many of the people who had driven many miles to come see me compete. It took me months to get over that dismal performance. It was probably the single greatest thing to have happened to me… What??? How is that possible, you ask… how can a dismal performance be the greatest thing to have happened? Simple… I failed when the moment counted most and I still had supper with friends that night, I got up and met other friends for breakfast, drove home and went back to work… the world continued. I went to New York and gave a speech a few months later… again, another bad speech… and the world moved on. I learned that the world doesn’t revolve around whether or not I have a good or bad day. I learned what’s most important is to keep doing what I love and to keep learning…

In 2009, I rededicated myself to becoming a student of speaking and it’s paid off tremendously. So, my advice to you is to keep speaking. When you have a bad day, know that it was necessary, learn the lesson and move on.

Keep speaking… somebody needs to hear your message!

Martin