Maybe your business has failed or your venture gone off track. Maybe you were supposed to be the next Steve Jobs, but it's all gone bad. For whatever reason, you find yourself in a place you never imagined--rock bottom.

But failure is not fatal and rock bottom is not forever, unless you make it so. There are very important lessons to learn when you've hit rock bottom. Here are nine of the most important:

1. You're may not be who you thought you were. When you're down and out, you're forced to confront yourself as you probably never have before. It's when you're at your most broken and weak that you can dig down through your vulnerabilities to the strength to stand strong. It is in loss and imperfection that you can see how perfectly human you are.

2. The only difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks is how you use them. Hitting rock bottom is a powerful reminder not to carry your mistakes around with you but to place them under your feet, to turn your stumbling blocks--all you failures, pain, mistakes, and foibles--stepping stones on your way to success.

3. What you thought you wanted may not be what you need. Sometimes painful circumstances turn out, months or years after the fact, to point you in a new direction that you didn't even know existed before.

4. You stand taller after having been knocked down. When you've learned to forget what is gone and appreciate what still remains, you can approach the future with new energy and higher standards. You can be strong because you experienced weakness; you can be fearless because you have experienced fear; you can be wise because you have experienced failure.

5. When you've lost everything, you're free to do anything. Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance. if you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer will always be no, and if you don't step forward after losing everything, you'll always be at the same place where you failed.

6. When you can no longer change your circumstances, you are challenged to change yourself. When you feel you have nowhere else to go, commit yourself to learning something new. The most valuable asset you will ever have is your mind and what you put into it. When life becomes harder and the circumstances are beyond your control, make yourself stronger.

7. At some point it can only get better. If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; and if you can't walk, crawl--but whatever you do, keep yourself moving forward. No storm, no trouble, no bad break lasts forever, and even if you can't feel anything around you changing, every step you take brings you closer to something better.

8. When you're on top you meet all kinds of people, but it's when you're on the bottom you see their true colors. Everyone you meet brings some kind of value to your life, even if it's painful. Good people will always be there for you, bad people give you experience. The worst give you valuable lessons, and the best give you memories.

9. Rock bottom can become the solid foundation on which you can rebuild your life. Whatever life gives you, even if it hurts a lot, be strong. Remember, strong walls may shake but they never collapse. You were given this life, this pain, this struggle, so work to keep yourself strong enough to make it through.