A couple weeks ago I entered a writing challenge issued by Don Kuhl, author of one of my favourite weekly emails from www.changecompanies.net. The challenge was to write about a time when you got “back on the horse” after a business failure in 250 words or less.
Today I got word that I didn’t win, but that my story was among Don’s favourites. Thought I would share my story and the feedback with you.
Here is my submission:
When I was a child my dad bought some wild horses. One mustang spent my entire tenth birthday unceremoniously unseating me, repeatedly. I stubbornly remounted, repeatedly. Good preparation for business life!
In 2004 my partner and I bought five houses by any means we could muster, on a hunch the market was rising. We furnished them, rented weekly to businessmen, collected premium rental rates and watched our investments appreciate monthly!
By 2007, we had $2.5 million in assets, only $900,000 of debt.
Time to sell!
We debated it ad nauseum. But we were making good money!
We didn’t sell.
Housing crisis arrived. Prices dropped. Rents dropped. Demand dropped.
We hung on too long and were eventually cornered into selling in low markets. We narrowly escaped bankruptcy by selling the last house last spring. We now rent that house from its owner.
What did we learn?
Timing is everything.
Know when to let go.
There’s no shame in failing.
It’s the journey, not the destination.
Find a need. Find way to meet that need. Work at it.
I have been pursuing a career as a writer and professional speaker. I recently stumbled upon another need.
I now provide coaching and classes to people with English as a Second Language so they can improve their pronunciation, be more productive and boost the bottom line.
I reinvented myself, developing a new career in my ‘50’s!
The ride has been exhilarating; I’m not ready to be put to pasture.
My name is Scott Provence and I work with Don in preparing his Mindful Midweek each Wednesday. Don was kind enough to share in confidence with me a small selection of favorite stories from his recent MM writing exercise, and your piece was one in this group.
Although it was not selected for one of the three prizes, I wanted to send you a personal message thanking you for sharing this story. It’s spirit spoke to both of us, and we want to recognize the courage it took, both to “get back on the horse” and also to share this experience.
Thank you for your support of Mindful Midweek, and for embodying the courage and creative writing Don and I aspire to.
Vice President of Product Development
The Change Companies ®