Losing It All and Starting Over

“If I inherit a lot of money, I may feel a fiduciary obligation to preserve the corpus. But a person who creates wealth, a risk-taker, says ‘If I lose it all, I can go out and create it again.’ “ – Patrick Rooney, director of research, Center on Philanthropy , Indiana University.

It’s rare that words have such impact they manage to distract me from my never-ending blogosphere hopping. I usually read, nod (or curse) and move on. The attention span of a gnat, I know.

At mention of entrepreneurship, something inside me perks. I am, an entrepreneur, with vision upon vision buoying plan upon plan. I have milestones and paths, goals to reach.

I see the future, and I am going to make it mine. But I digress. (And I’m probably getting a little cocky for some people’s tastes.)

The quotation above is worth thinking over – and over, and over, and over. One of the most common mindsets we perceive in small business, freelancing and blogging is fear. Fear of faith. Fear of trying. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of losing it all in an instant. Fear of hoping against hope. Fear of having your hopes crushed.

I don’t understand fear, I’ll admit. Fear – this type of fear – isn’t something that I care to rent space in my spirit. No vacancies, last call, out you go.

As far as I’m concerned, failure doesn’t exist. Everything I live is a learning experience. There is no failure. There is only an attempt that didn’t turn out as expected. So what does work? Where did I go wrong? How can I fix this? What other routes can I take to reach my goal?

Many people would call me a risk-taker, and maybe I am. Others call me calculating and know that there’s always a strategy to everything I do. I do take chances. I do leap with faith. I do know I might fall.

That trust in myself has let me learn that if I lose it all, I can go out and try again. This blog? This business? If it fails, I have concrete proof that I can make it at least as far as today – and I have the experience and knowledge to know how to do it better next time.

Let’s say I win the lottery. Let’s say that my ship comes in and suddenly, here’s money staring me in the face. Honestly? I’d probably blow a good chunk of it, like a starving man finally able to glut himself silly. (Don’t worry. I’d put away money for my kids and buy a house, too.)

But I wouldn’t care much about the money. I didn’t make it happen. It didn’t come from me. I didn’t build anything that gave me that wealth. I didn’t pour heart into something that could keep me, Harry and my family off the street.

Harry often says that if you teach a man to fish, you’ve given him the gift of self-sufficiency. (Or something like that. His saying is wittier than my interpretation.)

I believe that with every risk I take, I am teaching myself. I am giving myself the gift of learning how to try and how to fail so that I can try again with more wisdom. I am teaching myself about succeeding. About reaching goals. About the value of creation using your mind, your heart and your skills.

With every dollar I create from my efforts, I am proving to myself that I can earn wealth on my own. (Alright, wealth is debatable. Comfortable living is probably closer to the truth.) I’m showing myself that I can support my family, that I can be hired, that I can be of value to others.

No matter what happens to me, to Harry or to our business, we will always be able to do this again. Know what that means? It means that taking a chance is always worth the risk.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.