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Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel  in Your Individuality Excerpt from Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality

by Christine Comaford-Lynch

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Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight
Failure seems to come in two flavors. The first is created internally: you didn't do enough research, you made a bad decision (my geisha experience), or you sabotaged yourself, and you let someone psych you out (my Rama experience). The second type of failure hits you from the outside. You've done all  you could -- practiced the Law of Attraction, focused on a positive outcome, worked your butt off, paid your dues, but the world didn't cooperate. Or maybe it was just your time to learn to deal with adversity. With this second type of failure, ask yourself if you gave it your best shot. If so, let it go; if not, resolve to give it your all next time. This attitude is balm to the sting of defeat.

A few years back I met a promising start-up team with a potentially fabulous future. Together we raised several million dollars of venture capital financing, built up a solid team, and ramped up my sales. The company was on track for profitability in six months or so. Then, on the cusp of their success, the Internet bubble burst. Financiers got paranoid and stopped writing checks. The company was rapidly running out of money. Two of the seven board members wanted to fund the company to profitability, but they couldn't carry the burden themselves. The majority of existing financiers threw in the towel, and after a frenzied search for financing alternatives, the company shut their doors. The CEO sold the assets and the staff moved on.

The executive team got together and reviewed what they had learned from the experience. They now knew what roles they enjoyed most, they understood complex financing structures, they had learned about channel sales, and most of all, they had learned what it means to be entrepreneurs. Today the team members are involved in a number of exciting endeavors. Some have formed new businesses, others are intrapreneurs within large corporations, a few are trying out academia. In all their roles, they're running projects as if they have no certainty of additional outside financing. They have learned to become self-reliant and to let their new companies grow more organically, avoiding the high-risk rocketing pace of a venture-backed start-up.

Sometimes you may be stung so badly by a failure or rejection it takes time before you can stretch your swollen hand and grab the balm of a positive attitude. In this case, you'll want to work on desensitizing yourself. And the best way I've found is a Rejection Party. (See How to Throw a Rejection Party at the end of this chapter.)

Copyright © 2007 Christine Comaford-Lynch