The guilt that follows failure

in #life5 years ago

When I decided to enter the business world a few years ago I was very conscious that it could all end in failure.

At the time, I was fine with that prospect. I had worked hard and had built up a decent net worth over a number of years and knew that I could do it again. The prospect of losing everything didn’t worry me too much. After teaching myself how to invest and manage my money, I was quietly confident that even if I did lose everything, I would regain my wealth again much quicker than I previously did.


Well, when failure eventually came, boy did it hit hard. I lost a lot. If I think back on how much I lost it would probably equate to roughly $250,000 in total. This is a sizeable amount of money. And definitely too large a sum to shrug off as no big deal.

In previous posts I’ve mentioned my mission to get out of debt as quickly as possible, with the goal of being debt free in 2 years (hence the Steemit handle). And I’m certainly on track to achieve this goal. As it stands, I’m now down to under $100k in debt remaining to be paid off with about 1.5 years to go. So from a purely financial point of view, I will be OK and don’t need to stress too much over my financial loss.

But there was one aspect of my business failure that I completely failed to consider when assessing the risks of going into business. And that is the emotional impact of having your business collapse around your ears.

This is one aspect of entrepreneurship and is glossed over, or even not really discussed.

Failure is hard. And it can utterly destroy your self confidence.

At least it did with me. The biggest thing that I am dealing with right now is the immense feeling of guilt that I feel and, until recently, a complete absence of any feeling of self worth.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel guilty about the stress and grief that I put my wife through and the fact that I was the sole cause of 7 people losing their jobs and financial security.


And there is no real solution to all of this. I simply have to wear the guilt and hope that it will pass some day. Probably in the same manner that grief becomes easier to live with in time, but never really leaves you.

One thing that I have wanted to do for months now, is to actually properly apologise to my wife for all of the stress and grief that I caused her when my business failed. To this day, I haven’t managed to build up the courage or articulate a decent apology.

And I suppose that this post is partly a way to help me articulate that apology. My wife is the most patient and supportive person that I know. And certainly the most understanding. I’ve caused her so much pain in recent years. And I suppose that one reason for not apologising is that I’m afraid that I’ll discover that she secretly resents me for the stress and insecurity that my failure brought into our marriage.

Sadly, this post doesn’t come with a positive ending or even any real solution. All I know is that I need to apologise to my wife for the stress and grief that I caused when my business collapsed and that this post is my commitment to do so.

And this post is also a lesson for anyone thinking of going into business for themselves. Failure will destroy your confidence. And no good can come from glossing over this fact.

It has taken me months of hard work to slowly rebuild my sense of self worth. And I still have a long journey ahead to really feel like my confidence had returned.

Tread carefully friends. It’s a hard and difficult world if you choose to be an entrepreneur.

Image sources:


Tub Cat encourages you to speak with your wife. Your wife is probably a more properly washed human in comparison to yourself.

Posted using Partiko iOS

She certainly smells nice.

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