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It Takes Courage

Starting a business, facing the prospect of failure, making it through the tough times--it's all part and parcel of entrepreneurship. With courage, though, you can make it through anything.

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This story appears in the June 2002 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

In 1994, Celita Schutz left a lucrative art director position to train for the 1996 Olympics and start her own graphic design business, Celita Schutz Designs, based in New York City. Six months before the 1996 Olympic trials, the judo Olympian broke her leg in two places while competing in Brazil. The doctors predicted a six-month recovery, which would have eliminated Schutz from the Olympics. "I could either sit back and accept my injury, feeling sorry for myself, or I could fight. Win or lose, I had to try," says Schutz, 34. She made it back onto the mat in three months, winning a spot on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams. All the while, her graphic design business provided a mental diversion during the painful rehabilitation.

As an entrepreneur, you ride a roller-coaster of emotion every day-from the exhilarating highs of making a sale to the deep lows of lying awake at 3 a.m., wondering if your company will survive. As the economy sputters through recession, you count dwindling cash reserves. Months of massive layoffs have torn gaping holes in the corporate safety net-there are fewer jobs to catch you if you fall. How can you find the courage to face your fears and make your business successful? How do you push past discouragement and the darkness of self-doubt?

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