Coming back after a personal or professional failure isn't for the weak of heart. But once you hit your stride, the effects are downright addictive.
On September 23rd, 2009 my current employer and the self-appointed CEO and former lead investor and I sat down to lunch. He had come on about 3 months prior and I was the standing COO. He had asked me to stick around to bring him up to speed. I knew what was inevitable I just did not know when. So I worked hard but I started to mentally prepare for what was next.
For the previous 10-12 years, I had been the hired gun that investors parachute into an existing entity to help take the company to the next step. The dirty little secret in this path is that you exit as easily as you are asked to join.
On that Wednesday as we had lunch he told me it was the end of the road for me. (By-the-way, no amount of mental preparation or even the fact that this was the 3rd time this had happened helps with the evil your brain will inflict upon you after this lunch.) That being said, I thanked him and walked out that afternoon.
I made two calls that day with local entrepreneur types to talk about my new idea for a new-age incubator-like program (TechStars model). My first meetings were that Friday at breakfast, 48 hours after that lunch. I did something different to get different results. I did not hunker down for a few days/weeks/months to figure things out. I jumped right back in.
How to Bounce Back?
I created personal momentum. Personal momentum is really really valuable. I have learned this the hard way.
I love to talk about momentum. For me it is everything. Whether you are talking about personal momentum or professional momentum or business momentum--forward acceleration is the most important dynamic you have control over. Momentum creates a sense of purpose and builds on itself. It is an unbelievable feeling to be in the vortex of a momentum-driven journey.
Socializing (a.k.a., getting feedback from people you respect) your idea with 10-20 really smart opinionated peers creates momentum. This is why I love the socialization part of a startup so much. When you do it right, each meeting builds on the prior meeting. Each interaction is an opportunity to make every aspect of the idea better. The best part is that as you grab the energy from each one of those meetings, your body produces chemicals that in fact create more energy for you.
It's like a free (and legal) adrenaline rush without any of the downside or the illegal kind.