💙 Courage Precedes Confidence

It took courage to get through bankruptcy.

This is the second in a three-part series about my bankruptcy. To learn how it all happened, read failure and not a fit and to learn how I moved past it all read failure builds confidence.

this is how the story went

When I was 27, I fulfilled my dream of opening an anti-aging spa. The spa was initially successful.

But, then...just three years later, I was making absolutely zero money.

Despite all the research and all our careful planning, my lawyer recommended I declare bankruptcy and shut the spa down for good. When my lawyer made this suggestion, I was crushed, to say the least.

The bankruptcy impacted my well-being to the core. I faced countless sleepless nights and feared I would never run another business. I thought no one would ever want to work with me again.

I had poured my heart and soul into my business and had sacrificed so much to keep it going. I felt like I was losing part of myself. I also felt embarrassed and stupid. I felt so much shame that I bottled up all my emotions and didn’t share them with anyone...not even my own family.

Before I filed for bankruptcy, it really came down to choosing between two options:

  1. I could either continue struggling with the business with my head underwater — working twelve-hour days, six days a week — which completely went against my core.

  2. I could declare bankruptcy and start a fresh, brand new life.

After going bankrupt I struggled with an internal conflict for a good 5 years. I stuffed all my fear, anger, shame, and guilt inside my stomach. In Sept 2015, my back went out and my stomach pain got to a point where I thought I needed surgery. The stress of being a workaholic, the impact of going bankrupt, and being disconnected from my emotions caused my body to virtually shut down.

I never expressed the impact it had on me until now. How was I supposed to train people in business and in sales if I had gone bankrupt? How was I supposed to have a successful business?

I was worried I wouldn’t get contracts because people would judge.

I often felt there were 2 versions of me: every day “Big Me” put on this brave front, while “Little Me” was stuffed away in a deep, dark corner, craving to spill out all my emotions onto the table.

In the end, it was my experience of going bankrupt and rebuilding a life for myself that people ended up being the most attracted to and fascinated by. I find people want to hear more about how I failed — and what it took to rise to success again.

I started learning about the process of letting go.

As part of my healing process I worked intensely with 2 different coaches, got certified in Reiki Level 1 and 2 and started to meditate. I’m still learning and growing. We all are. I learned that letting go can only happen through feeling, forgiving, and then moving on.

True letting go comes when you surrender — that means no more push and a lot more allowing and being. Essentially, living from your heart and not your head.

I once was told by a wise woman that it’s the mind’s job to serve the heart’s desires. I now understand what she meant. Instead, my whole life I’ve been trying to get my heart to love what my mind thinks is the right thing to do...up until now.

Declaring bankruptcy was an experience that had me dig deep — and learn what I’m really made of.

I learned many lessons, but looking back these are probably the most impactful...

Bankruptcy is not as scary as I thought it would be.

The process was surprisingly straightforward. Once I made the decision, I saw a trustee and completed the paperwork. Fortunately, my trustee was very nice and didn’t pass any judgment on me. This alone helped me a lot in the process. I also had to submit vigorous monthly budget statements and attend 2 money-management classes. The classes were mandatory and the content was basic, but I honestly thought it was a little unnecessary since I didn’t go bankrupt from not knowing how to manage money. It was more embarrassing, if anything. Nine months later, I was discharged. This was a lot less scary than getting calls from collection agencies.

I gave myself permission to make mistakes.

I realized that everyone makes mistakes. Last year, almost 119,000 Canadians either filed for personal bankruptcy or filed a consumer proposal. When I learned I was not alone after all, I gave myself permission to make mistakes and ask for help. After that it was much easier to get support, learn something new, and make things right.

I didn’t let bankruptcy paralyze me.

The shame I felt when I declared bankruptcy was paralyzing at times. I later realized I needed to work through it in order to move onto the next chapter in my life. I practiced everything I could to keep expanding my knowledge — I connected with my spirituality, learned how to believe and have faith in myself, and continually honed my business skills — I was determined to get out of the rut.

I started sharing my emotions.

This was probably one of the most important things I learned how to do to avoid shameful and toxic feelings invading my body. When I started to share my emotions, I was able to release and let go of tension in my body. I never realized how bottling up my emotions kept me feeling so alone and isolated, causing them to take up space and prevent other feelings from coming in — feelings of love, acceptance, joy, happiness — the emotions I longed to feel.

I find that when you share your emotions with someone who understands and doesn’t judge, you’ll overcome your challenges much faster.

I started to open up more which allowed me to let people in. I also realized something important: that people are more forgiving than we assume. Now that I’m open, I laugh so much more...I love deeper, I feel the connection through eye contact...and I am tickled by the touch of a hand.

I looked for the lessons and owned it.

I think the only way to overcome the stigma of bankruptcy is to own it. You need to be straightforward about what happened, take responsibility, and move forward.

Owning my bankruptcy gave me a sense of personal power. Once I shared my big failure and people started to see themselves in me, I became someone they wanted to learn from. I became known for being able to take people to edge that no other business mentor/coach could do because I walked and crossed all those edges.

I became known for being someone who would hold your hand and help you face your fears, break your barriers, and smash your ceiling — this is what I love about the work I do!

Once I really understood that bankruptcy is something that happened and does NOT define who I am —

— I started to experience freedom around it. How I interpret my situation is a reflection of how resilient I am, and how quickly I’m able to bounce back.

When I went bankrupt, it offered me a huge sense of peace and relief.

I no longer had huge debts that were sucking me into a black hole.

It gave me a clean slate, freedom, and renewed energy. For me, it teaches you what you need to be successful, where you need help and support, and to discover where your opportunities are to grow.

I’ve heard time and time again that everything happens for a reason. I learned to believe that because I LIVED it. Even though I couldn’t see it back then, I finally do today. Somehow, some way, all the stars were aligned for my success...but I had to go through the bankruptcy to make it happen.

I see now that the universe has our back, even when it doesn't feel like it. We have to keep moving forward, and never, ever give up.

If I never went bankrupt, I may never know myself as well as I do today.

Your history is not your destiny.

You can reinvent yourself and dream a new dream.

It took courage for me to build confidence.
— Sophie B.
 
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Curious? Take a peek & discover a new you.

Take a peek inside and discover lots of free training tailored just for you. In Chapter Three of this series, we learned that sometimes the best you can do, can be the hardest.

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