What I Learned from Losing $2 Million Dollars

Sep 18, 2019

I lost $2 MILLION Dollars

If you have been an entrepreneur for longer than a nanosecond, you know that this journey provides more than its fair share of life lessons. Over the years, I've grown a pretty thick skin of resilience, but nothing could have prepared me for the huge loss we experienced soon after launching our company, Peyton Bre. From poor inventory projections, to a failed software system, and two cases of international fraud and theft..

We lost $2 million in under nine months.

In January of this year, a member of my executive staff made a comment to me that I will never forget. He said,

“You didn't just lose $2 million; you gained a $2 million education.”

At the time, I remember thinking, "Someday that will be very profound, but today is not that day."

In the eight months since that devastating day I've been able to gain some clarity and perspective that I could not see while in the thick of it. And while I would never wish what we went through on anyone, I can't deny the immense personal growth that has come as a direct result of that struggle.

Today I want to share the top six lessons I learned from my "$2 million education" with you:

Lesson #1: Don't undervalue your intuition by overvaluing the experience of others.

I have always been a cautious and methodical risk taker: I analyze my options, calculate my expenses, plan what's in my power to control and project possible reactions to that plan.

So when we started Peyton Bre, we hired some incredible consultants who had industry experience that I didn't. I found myself using their experiences and feedback as an excuse to ignore my own intuition, and often wrote myself off because I didn’t feel that I had enough experience to be valuable.

And thinking like that is where you're going to get into trouble.

We cannot afford to undervalue our knowledge. Business development in many ways, is excavation and discovery. As you have those intuitive thoughts, questions or concerns, bring them to the table! Don’t be embarrassed because you're stacking your lack of experience up against someone else's plethora of it.

Give yourself some credit because, at the end of the day, you're the one who's going to be fighting the fight. 

Lesson #2. Grow as you go.

It's really easy when we're launching a new business to want to set the perfect foundation so that there is no possible chance for failure.

The reality is that's not reality. Ever.

Getting out there and doing it is the quickest way to learn. Be willing to start messy and imperfect. The important thing is to just start. Consider your options, set your course, know your intentions, and get moving! Learn along the way! You can always adapt and shift and change as you receive feedback and gain more experience.

Lesson #3. Listen to others but validate yourself.

Listen to the advice and experience of others but make decisions for yourself. Don't wait for external validations of your dreams. If you don't believe in it enough for you, then ask yourself why you're doing it at all. 

You will need to pull on that passion during the tough times, so make sure that you really know the purpose behind the “why.” Ask yourself, “do I believe in this enough for myself that if everybody else in the world is telling me that I'm crazy, I still have the courage and the drive to press on?”

If you're trying to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one. Your intuition, values and vision should drive you further than the critics. 

Lesson #4. Upgrade your top five.

Surround yourself with amplifiers and doers. People who dream big and have the drive to chase those dreams. People who challenge and hold you accountable. People who listen and ask questions but don't dictate all the answers.

If you want to be a leader, you need to surround yourself with leaders, engage with leaders, ask advice from leaders, and even do business with other leaders.

You've heard that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So, upgrade your five and you'll upgrade yourself. 

Lesson #5. Get out of your own mind.

Oftentimes our mind gets in our way; we spiral on our own self-deprecating thoughts and negative projections of what the future holds.

But limiting beliefs limit our future potential.

To get out of my own mind, I listen to podcasts and try read as much as possible. I like to hear other people's stories and methods to use them as a catalyst to inspire myself in my own journey. Another way I get out of my head is by recording small snippets, sentiments of gratitude or lessons learned, just pieces that I can look back on as I reflect. Often times the most inspiring words come from yourself in those moments of clarity, so record the moments!

Lesson #6. Don't underestimate the effects of physical health on emotional wellness.

This is the one that I struggle with the most because – confession time - I am an eater! I eat when I’m emotional, when I’m bored, when I’m stressed. 

I recognize that I need to change because I'm not who I want to be when I operate in that way. I can't show up to my fullest potential. We’ve all seen the motivational quote that says something along the lines of “A Healthy Body Equals A Healthy Mind” - but how often do we actually stop to reflect on whether we've seen evidence of it in our own lives?

I have to ask myself – “How am I serving my body? Am I serving it in a way that it is going to serve me back?” When the answer is no, what small changes -- not huge, drastic, going-to-quit-within-the-first-24-hours, but small, manageable changes can I commit to that will add up to big results? I recently heard motivational speaker Jay Shetty say that we often set ourselves up for failure when we make big changes a small priority rather than making small changes a big priority.

Never underestimate what the best version of you can accomplish. The best version of you is strong, energized and capable of tackling whatever comes your way! 

I hope that my own lessons learned strike a chord and help you understand that you are not alone on this journey of entrepreneurship.

There are going to be highs and lows in this journey – and that’s part of the beauty of it.

If you can learn to love the journey, if you can learn to love the lessons and the growth, then your fulfillment and happiness throughout it will be exponentially greater.


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