I was having lunch today with one of my biggest clients, who’s also a close personal friend. He’s someone that I share things with – what’s going on in my business or life, and I always appreciate his counsel. Today, while at lunch, I shared some of the challenges I’ve had this year and over the last couple of years. I talked about my obstacles, stumbling blocks, and setbacks, both personal, professional, and financial.
When I was done speaking, he took a pause, then looked me in the eyes and simply said, “Move on.”
His blunt and concise response took me aback at first. But he then shared his own personal story.
A couple of years ago, he and his firm made an investment/loan into a consulting company. The company was global, a big brand that is well known and doing $300 million of revenue a year at the time.
My client’s fund, which had nothing but profitable investments to date, made a $44 million dollar loan to this business. My client would have personally earned $4 million dollars had this investment gone well. After all, he helped vet this business, loved their business model, and what they did.
Well, shortly after the loan was made, Deloitte came in and bought the business. During the purchase of the owner’s equity, they set the loan aside, forcing the loan to go bad. Thus, the fund lost $44 million dollars.
That could have been devastating, both financially and as a blow to their confidence and reputation. It was the first bad loan of my client’s fund. That said, the fund still had significant profits.
Later that year as they went to fund raise again, they had to explain this glaring loss to every investor. No matter how great their profits and track record had been, this result impacted their ability that year to raise the next fund.
The bad decision (by Deloitte and the company who took the loan, not by my client), haunted my friend for a while. But he used it as motivation, as fuel, and was 100% forthright about it with new investors. He redoubled his efforts – and his success, instead of faltering or dwelling on it.
If you allow it to change you or impact you negatively – if you carry that loss around instead of brushing it aside as an anomaly, you lose twice – but one of your own doing.
“Move on,” he told me again. “Just move on.”
He lost $4 million dollars personally plus the blow to his company. And it won’t be the last time that a decision looks great but doesn’t pan out.
We all face those jaw-dropping, life-rattling losses, at work and also in our personal lives. But how we choose to absorb, internalize, and respond is what it’s all about.
You have to move on to be able to move up, and my good client and great friend reminded me of that.