At a recent monthly mastermind meeting, one participant (let’s call him Bob) spent his share of the time lamenting a bad business decision. Bob was angry at how badly he was treated, and angrier at himself for not heeding the red flags he saw as he entered into the business relationship. Instead he allowed his emotional investment to override the rational part of his brain.

Everyone’s response: “It happens. We’re sorry it happened to you. And we’re glad we are here to support you now.”

In the book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., states that “Studies on journaling show that writing about negative as well as positive experiences enhance our levels of mental and physical health.” I’m fairly certain that being able to vent in a trusted environment provides many of the same benefits.

And perhaps I was subliminally remembering this quote when I suggested that Bob go home and write a blog or series of blogs based on his experience. I recommended that he write them now and include all of his passion, frustration, and anger; that he should not censure his language or edit in any way. In thirty days or so, when he is calmer, he can then revisit and edit the blog entries to something fit for public consumption.

There are many learning lessons that Bob can pull from this including:

  • Red flags to look for and run from in business partnerships
  • What to look for when forming a business partnership
  • Self – forgiveness and moving on

Facing challenges and disappointing results is common among all small businesses. In fact, it’s inevitable. I could even go so far as to assert that if you are not experiencing the occasional failure, you are not pushing your boundaries enough and are therefore limiting your income.

It’s what you do with the challenges and failures that matters. You can stay stuck in them, complaining to everyone who will listen that it’s not your fault and it’s just unfair. (Warning: The number of people willing to listen will steadily decrease over time.) Or you can vent to trusted advisors, write in your journal or blog and look for the lessons to be learned. This second path allows you turn the painful experience into gold.

What painful experiences and business challenges is it time for you to embrace? Take the time today to journal about the experience, including all the feelings and details you can remember. Also, be brave and share your experience with a trusted advisor – a mastermind group, mentor, or coach is ideal. If these people merit your trust they will respond with sincere compassion and guide you to move on. Then look into the experience for the chunk of gold that has been given to you.

Finally reframe the experience from one of shame, anger, and frustration to the opportunity it actually provides for growth. This is true alchemy and the gold it provides is more valuable than any chunk of lead.

Have a great day!