Deal With Your Past and Step Into Your Entrepreneurial Power
Building your future often begins with confronting what haunts you.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I started my first business at 19 years old. It was a service business in the vendor industry. As a young entrepreneur, I grew that business to half a million dollars a year with six employees in three states. While this business provided an alternative to the traditional employee path, it was not a life and business I wanted to live long term.
In 2011, I discovered the idea and possibilities of becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur. While I started down the path to build a location-independent business, it took a year and a half of growing the business before it was sufficiently profitable for me to sell it.
I got clear on my dreams, vision and values. I woke up every day and put in the work. All of the efforts led to the global 14-revenue stream business I own and operate now. However, it hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies to create freedom and success in business.
Related: How I Became Obsessed With Personal Development and Why You Should Too
Life and business had been incredible until the middle of 2015. It was at that time I had the opportunity to travel for corporate consulting gigs. The travel and other circumstances led to the end of my 17-year marriage. I was crushed. During my state of confusion and depression, I entered into an unhealthy romantic relationship.
All the progress I had made up to that point quickly went out the window as I focused my life on what I thought was love. The next year was a dark period. I made poor choices. I hurt people I loved. I ignored business opportunities. I lost customers. By the end of 2016, I was broke, broken and desperate.
A way back.
After hitting rock bottom and some calling-out from true friends, I decided to get my life back in order. I wrote about that path to redemption published in an article published in Entrepreneur magazine. One important part of overcoming my circumstances was learning to let go of the past. It was a critical element to progress.
As I put in the work to mend relationships, rebuild my business and become a better version of myself, I got angry. I looked at the how my decisions had affected the people around me. I felt like a loser who didn't deserve another chance. I battled little voices pointing out all that I had done. It made it hard to be in the right mindset.
Working with a coach, I got honest about the voices and demons. I confronted my anger. I got real about my self-worth struggles. I began to understand that my past doesn't have to control me, that what's done is done and my focus had to be on right now -- and the future. I learned how our minds make things big. I understood that circumstances could be figured out.
Related: 7 Ways to Rebuild Your Financial Life Post-Divorce
Your past doesn't have to hold you hostage.
I'm guessing there are more than a few entrepreneurs reading this who can relate. You've made poor choices that affected your life. You may have hurt people. Parts of your past may be affecting your efforts to build a business. You have wounds, scars and demons that feed your self-limiting beliefs.
Everyone dealing with a past that's pulled them down needs to understand that this starts in your mind. We humans tend to over-focus on the negative. If you're going to move forward, you have to acknowledge the battle in your mind. You have to get it out into the open. Talk to a professional if you have to.
Take the steps you need to take to make things right. If there are apologies to be made, make them. If there is financial restoration to be had, do what needs to be done. If there are relationships to repair, start that process. Don't duck responsibility or make excuses. Confront head-on the hard choices you need to make and the work you need to do. Willingly do whatever it takes to make things right.
Related: How a Major Personal Crisis Led to a Smarter Business
You are not your wounds. You are not the things that were done to you. You are not your scars. You are not your past decisions. You are not what other people say about you.You decide who you truly are and how you want to show up in the world as a human and entrepreneur.
Every new day is an opportunity to be better. It's your chance to put in the work that makes you stronger and builds your vision. It's your time to be in control of any emotions that try to pull you back there. You will take control when you decide to do something about it.
You can build an amazing life and business. You can build a business that gives you freedom and financial security and makes an impact. Don't let your past keep you from getting there. It's time to let go and put in the work.