How to Deal with the Emotional Trauma from a Business Failure

Have you ever had a big failure in your business?

Maybe you felt embarrassed, scared, unsure of yourself...and it felt so bad you wanted to just crawl under a rock and never come out again?

While Jesse and I had our share of big business failures in the early years, I want to share a story of a big fall with our 4-year old son, Zachary, my mommy trauma and how this relates to your business. 

I posted this in Facebook on the 4th of July: 


FullSizeRenderRecovering from Mommy Trauma tonight...

We went to the Scotts Valley 4th of July parade and then the boys and I decided to skate to Sky Park, rather than drive, for the party and fireworks.

Zachary (4) and I take off and we're having a great time. Jesse is on foot and stayed behind with Jacob (7 today) while he skated along.

We turn left onto Blue Bonnet Road and the sidewalk gets a little steep.

Zach and I are holding hands and we pick up speed quickly, but we are able to pretty easily veer off into the dirt right next to the sidewalk.

Jesse sees this and says something about it seeming a little dangerous, but I feel confident--I know we need to be cautious, but know we can just veer off into the dirt whenever needed.

(You have to understand that I'm a really awesome roller skater at the roller rink. And Zach has become quite an awesome inline skater.)

We're holding hands and start skating slowly down the hill again. I'm doing all that I can to maintain a slower speed…

And then the sidewalk suddenly gets REALLY steep...

And then steeper. And now we're racing downhill and there is only the curb on the left and a curb on the right that separates the sidewalk and the landscaping.

We start picking up major speed. Zach cries, "Mommy, I'm scared!"

My heart is racing...but I think we can get through this if we can just keep our skates forward and stay calm until the sidewalk levels out.

Now we are picking up more speed. I keep looking for when the sidewalk will flatten out...or there will be a wide driveway we can turn into.

But at least we are both still heading forward...I feel scared that we're going to have a big crash, but keep doing everything I can to stay present, keep going forward and keep us safe…

Still racing downhill...

Now I've lost control, and I can't figure out what to do to slow us down.

If I use my stoppers, we will go flying forward. If we run into the curb, we are going to eat it big time…

Now I'm scared!

Then Zach loses his balance and suddenly I'm holding him up off the ground with my right hand while we continue to fly downhill.

His skate catches my skate and I trip.

I almost regain control but then he falls into a driveway.

I feel strong momentum as I fall, so I let go of his hand to keep from dragging him on the ground.

I finally catch myself with my right hand, do a half-roll and land on my butt. Then my head hits the ground, the skirt of my dress flies up over my chest and my hat and sunglasses go flying.

I quickly push my skirt back down, get up and skate over to Zach, who is 10 feet away.

He is sitting on his butt with skinned and bloody knees showing through his torn blue baseball socks, that he (thank God) had pulled up over his knees.

"My flag, Mommy!" He is worried about his little American flag he got during the parade.

I grab the flag quickly while people across the street start walking over.

"Are you okay?" 

"I think so."

"We saw you hit your head."

"I think I'm okay." I was just worried about my babe. 

The flag seems to soothe him.

I remain calm and try to distract him from seeing his bloody knees. We get up to skate slowly (the hill isn't as steep here and that damn curb between the sidewalk and landscaping is finally gone).

From the top of the hill to the fall was a very long 20 seconds…

(You know that moment after the emergency is over and you realize something big just happened?)

We skate another 10 feet and I see a shady walkway to the right. "Let's sit down here and wait for Daddy and Jacob."

We sit on the ground and he sees his bloody knees. He starts crying while he pulls apart one of the rips in his sock.

"I'll buy you a new pair of socks. I'm so sorry, baby. We were going too fast and I didn't know how to slow us down."

We talk about how it hurts while he cries.

Daddy and Jacob arrive and I share briefly about what happened. The car isn't far and I know we've got Arnica, Bacitracin and Band-aids in the glove box.

I suggest Jesse carry Zach to the car.

Fortunately, Band-aids cover up bloody knees. And when you can't see them, they don't hurt as bad.

"I'm so sorry, Zachary!" He gives me a hug and then goes back to Daddy's lap.

We finally end up at the park and Zach says he wants to go home...But it's Jacob's birthday. And I know we can move on and he'll feel better.

"Zachary, I'm so sorry we were going so fast. And I'm so sorry you were so scared and got hurt. Mommy made a big mistake. We will never go down that hill in skates ever again.

Will you forgive me?"

He nods his head yes.

Shortly after eating dinner, I invite Zach to play some games. He says yes and seems to have mostly forgotten about his knees.

The park and the fireworks were great…

Until we were driving home, stuck in post-fireworks traffic on the same street where we fell.

The kids are fine, almost asleep. But my heart starts racing again as I see the sidewalk we raced down. I'm having trouble breathing.

Jesse notices and after a short conversation about what I'm experiencing, he suggests I do some EFT when we get home.

I don't usually do EFT, but the anxiety is really intense. I keep hoping tears will come and release it as we drive home, but they don't. I try shaking and this doesn't help either.

I keep thinking about what I could have done differently. If I had asked Zach to use his stopper, since it's on the back, that might have slowed us down. That's the only thing I could think of.

With my hand on my heart, I quietly tell myself I did the best I could in the moment as we drive home.

We get home and after the kids are asleep, I ask Jesse to teach me how to do EFT again.

After about 20 minutes of talking, tapping and eventually forgiving myself, I feel that I've moved the emotional trauma out of my body.

I realize now that the hardest part was not the fall...that was actually a relief within two seconds of realizing we were okay.

The hardest part was the fear I felt as we were racing downhill at what must have been 20 mph. The lack of control in my body. The danger my little guy was in and the feeling of powerlessness because I couldn't figure out what to do.

I realize my overconfidence worked against me today and put my babe in danger. I feel SO incredibly grateful that we got out with only two skinned knees, a road rash on my hand and a little bump on my head.

No broken bones. No concussion. No stitches.  

I'm grateful I have such an amazing and loving husband.
I'm grateful our angels took care of us.
And I'm grateful for the healing and empowerment work that is so readily available.


Writing this story was really therapeutic for me.  And then to be witnessed by posting on Facebook and reading the 70+ comments filled with love and support was awesome.

Zachary wasn’t quite ready to get back in his rollerblades the next day. But two days later, he is back in them as if nothing happened!

When Jesse and I looked back at this story, we realized there were several insights into how to deal with emotional trauma from a business failure.

1. Be willing to take risks.  While it’s true that my overconfidence got us into trouble, the willingness to take risks is essential to having a successful business.

You don’t always know what you’re getting yourself into and it will sometimes be scary.  But when you’re not willing to take risks, you can’t learn and grow. 

Zachary and I were just talking about pushing our limits minutes before we turned onto Blue Bonnet Road.  Will you sometimes get bloody knees in your business? Yes.  

But if your fear of bloody knees keeps you from taking risks, your business will stay limited to where it is now. 

2. Ask for support.  I’m so grateful I had the wherewithal to realize we needed support and to sit and wait for Jesse to come help us after the accident.

After you fall down, it’s essential to get support.  We love witnessing our Thrive Members asking for support in the Thrive Membership Facebook Group because we know that without being supported and loved after a “failure,” it’s much harder to get up again.  Human beings are NOT meant to deal with struggle and hardship alone.  We need support.

3. Be resilient.  My biggest concern was that Zachary wouldn’t want to get back up on his rollerblades again.  

Fortunately, children are very resilient and he only needed a day to move through his trepidation.   

How can you bounce back just as quickly? 

Create a safe environment where you can experiment with new strategies.

If you’re new to strategies like using the free consultation formula, creating your first group program, getting speaking gigs or making offers at a workshop or live event, for example, it will be much easier to bounce back when you’ve got a safe environment.  

At the Client Attraction Summit, we call this being “Sexy.”

We tell participants on Day 1 that it’s not going to be a perfect weekend. It’s going to be a Sexy weekend. So instead of saying “I’m so stupid!” when you mess something up you say, “I’m so Sexy!”

Just like Zachary, your willingness to get back up again and have fun is the only way you’ll be successful in the long run.

4.  Use tools to deal with any upset.  I was so grateful to have EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) when I realized I still had emotional trauma after the fall.

When you have a failure, it’s essential you fully deal with what happened and allow yourself to recover.  Otherwise, you’ll take that failure into the next thing and you can get frozen with fear. 

Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, to ask for support, to realize that you’re human and that it is your humanity that will ultimately draw the deepest connection between you and your community.   This is how you’ll bounce back quickly from emotional traumas in your business.

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