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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.

By Rebecca Smith • May 5, 2006 Originally published Jun 6, 2002

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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

As an entrepreneur, you ride a roller-coaster of emotion everyday-from the exhilarating highs of making a sale to the deeplows of lying awake at 3 a.m., wondering if your company willsurvive. As the economy sputters through recession, you countdwindling cash reserves. Months of massive layoffs have torn gapingholes in the corporate safety net-there are fewer jobs tocatch you if you fall. How can you find the courage to face yourfears and make your business successful? How do you push pastdiscouragement and the darkness of self-doubt?

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