In my first book – Advance to Go, Collect $1Million – I describe a lot of my influences growing up. A large one of these being that both my parents were declared bankrupt.
The book shows that this while at the time having a really negative impact on my life actually was a turning point for me in terms of changing my outlook and giving me the much needed skill of perspective. That is being able to look upon most situations and give them a positive perspective.
At age 15 when it came time to start my first business instead of being gripped with so much fear that I didn’t go ahead – I chose to look upon this experience from the perspective of being someone who at that age had the experience of both my parents in terms of what worked for them and of course what didn’t. If I had let fear of the financial failure I had so vividly seen my parents go through hold me back – who knows where I’d be today, probably still living in fear.
Instead I chose to use that potential fear and turn it into motivation – I motivated myself to learn what went wrong with what my parents did and also what went wrong with other businesses out there.
As a young girl growing up wanting to rule the business World in Australia one of the prime role models for me was Poppy King. Many of you in Australia would be aware of Poppy’s story, for those who aren’t – she financed her own make up empire based on the fact that she couldn’t find that perfect shade of lipstick. She was my hero and then she experienced one of the most spectacular demises in Australian business history.
For a while some of my best mentors were those who had failed. After all, you can’t learn what not to do from someone who always gets it right. And in my experience the most successful people out there – get it wrong a lot of the time.
So, my parents went bankrupt and it had a massive impact on my life. To follow is a list of other people who went through bankruptcy in their life… showing that one huge event in your life, even as devastating as bankruptcy, doesn’t have to be the end of you.
P.T. Barnum – famed circus promoter invested $500,000 in a poor business deal and was swindled.
Kim Basinger – the movie actress declared bankruptcy after losing a law suit for saying she would star in Boxing Helena, as a result she lost a whole town she owned in Georgia!
Gary Coleman – when he was on Diff’rent Strokes in the 1980’s he was paid $64,000 a week and was the highest paid child star of that time. After numerous legal battles and medical operations he declared bankruptcy in 1995.
Francis Ford Coppola – he filed for bankruptcy in 1992 when he had $53 million in assets, but $98 million in liabilities. He was back on top though in 1993 after Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Donald Trump declared business bankruptcy in 1994.
Walt Disney – filed for bankruptcy just two years into his first company and look how much he ended up changing the world.
Perspective is key… The setbacks you have experienced to now, and we’ve all experienced them, will either hold you back or propel you forward. The choice is yours.
I watched a training video some months ago and a certain image has always stuck with me. It’s of a young girl sitting at the breakfast table with her parents. She knocks her glass of orange juice spectacularly all over the table and her outfit. There’s a pause, everyone’s frozen, no-one reacts for a moment. And then the girl throws both arms above her head and proudly declares “First spill of the day, wo-hoo!” Perspective is everything.