When it comes to being successful there is no doubt that it is a road of trial and error. You learn and grow and hopefully become a better version of yourself every day. You sacrifice for your company, for your goals, for your dreams and after some weeks, months or even years, that sacrifice starts to pay off. Success, as you’ve defined it for yourself, starts becoming your reality. Whether it’s in the form of your personal business taking off or losing the extra weight you’re worked so hard to get rid of, life is good.
Sure, you’ve had your ups and downs along the way, but who hasn’t. Your success has come from learning how to handle the downs and how to maximize the ups. At first, it was quite a process learning these lessons, at times doubting your own ability to make things work, but you pushed ahead and came out the other end in a better position than before.
Then came the fall.
It was sudden and unexpected. Perhaps your business was accused of false advertisement. Maybe you told everyone you lost weight by going vegan and someone saw you eating a burger at 3 in the morning. The point is you are in a situation that’s of your own doing, a situation where you clearly did something wrong and you know it. This is the fall. Unlike previous obstacles you’ve overcome, this isn’t a situation that you can solve by putting your head down and weathering the storm. Not this time, this is a situation created by your own actions or inactions. Whether you meant to deceive or you were telling the truth and then the situation changed and you never bothered to clear it up, one thing is clear, you are at fault.
The next steps you take will determine how much this fall will hurt, personally and/or professionally. Will you deny doing anything wrong or will you defend your actions, explaining that anyone would do the same given the chance to be in your shoes. Explaining that you meant no harm and that despite being deceitful, you wanted to keep the positive momentum going. Maybe you can explain how in the grand scheme of things, you really didn’t do anything that bad. Maybe. But perhaps you can do something better, something somewhat unusual, something that might bring more criticism. Maybe you can do what Anderson Silva did.
Anderson Silva the MMA fighter?
Yes, that Anderson Silva. Considered by most to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson faced a tough road back to the octagon after back to back loses to Chris Weidman in 2013. Add to that a broken leg at age 38 and the road back seemed even longer. After a long year working his way back into fighting shape, he made his triumphant return to the octagon versus Nick Diaz, only to be suspended for using Performance Enhancement Drugs. Turning 40 and coming off an injury, nobody would have blamed Anderson if he called it a career and just retired. Next, he had to sit in front of the athletic commission and give his reasons for why he tested positive for a PED. Some people believed his reasons, others didn’t, but everyone wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. The biggest question everyone had regarding this situation was simple, what would Anderson do next?
After all these setbacks following a long and storied career, full of ups and downs, Anderson said he intended to fulfill his contract with the UFC that at the time had at least 6 fights left. At age 40 he stated his desire to continue fighting to challenge, not for the title, but rather to challenge himself as a martial artist. He understood that a title opportunity would be great, but if he didn’t get one again, he would be ok with that. He only wanted to fight in contests that presented new challenges for himself. He, at age 40, wanted to continue to push himself. To grow, to become better, to continue his career. Why? For legacy? For the spoils? Actually, it was because fighting is something he loves to do. Being in the octagon and challenging himself against some of the best talent MMA has to offer is fun for him. At this stage in his career, fun and self-fulfillment are his priorities, more than money and accolades.
The key takeaway from the actions Anderson Silva has taken when facing adversity to the degree where everyone thought he should quit while he was ahead and retire is a simple one. He decided to take face his situation head on and live his truth. So what should you do? Look your customers, friends and/or online community straight in the eyes (figuratively) and be honest. Take the hit, admit you were wrong and explain how you are going to make things right. Anderson Silva did exactly that and continued moving forward. MMA fans love him more than ever. What could have been career ending falls have become nothing more than speed bumps in the big picture of his career. With each new fight, he gains back more respect and admiration. You can do the same.
Whether it’s your business or in your personal life, if you have done something wrong, willingly or not, just step up and admit it. Admit it, fix it and continue moving forward. If you truly love what you do and enjoy doing it, don’t let one (or 2 or 3) mistakes define your efforts and successes. Prove that you are willing to do more, the right way, not because you want to prove something, not because you have to do it, but because you want to. Because you love what you do and you want to continue doing it because it fulfills something in you. In time, your true intent and effort will be respected once more, you will be close to where you once were and you will find yourself happier than before.
Always stay positive, challenges are meant to be conquered and falls are only meant to test our resolve.