That dreams can become reality if you believe in them enough is something we at Blogzine are firmly convinced of. And we also believe in second chances for everyone. In this week’s column Angelo shares an important update in his life since he was declared bankrupt in 2016.
Sometimes it still feels like I don’t deserve all this, but I have worked hard for it!
It has been a while since I took the time to write a column. But between moving house and giving coaching and training sessions, I needed a break. It was only when I was out at a restaurant with some friends a while back that I realised how little I actually share about my own journey as an entrepreneur. The reactions of most of them when I mentioned that I had declared bankruptcy five years ago made me realise how much I have grown as a person and as an entrepreneur.
26 years old and bankrupt
Okay, let’s rewind a bit. In 2016, I was declared bankrupt. After 3 successful years as an entrepreneur in the Flemish communication and public relations world, my entrepreneurial dream came to an end. Bad choices of business relations, too little professional knowledge and insufficient savings led to a big problem that could no longer be saved. My world collapsed. I was tired, exhausted and above all scared. Afraid of everyone’s reactions. Especially since failure is still such a big taboo in Belgium.
The way I handled my business in failure didn’t really help either. My attitude mainly pushed people away from me. I was no longer the person they had got to know a few years ago, so I couldn’t blame them for preferring to break the ties. Even though it was very hard. When you are successful, you have a lot of people who constantly bombard you with praise and want to meet you. When you fail, you don’t hear anybody anymore. The only words you hear are those that come to you by chance.
Only when I recovered did I start dreaming of a brighter future. Still, a voice in the back of my head kept saying: you’re not good enough! You will make the same mistakes again. Stop dreaming Angelo!
With small steps, I shaped myself again. And what I regretted all this time, was that I could not share a large part of who I am with others. Mainly because I was afraid of their judgement of me and who I was then.
I have not been afraid to share my story for a long time now. I am especially proud of the fact that after five years I am now where I am: living on a tropical island in a penthouse, together with my best friend. Before we made the decision to come and live here, we created a vision for ourselves of the life we wanted. We wanted to work differently, more consciously and with more attention to ourselves. But most importantly, we wanted to live in a penthouse, each with our own place to live, but with a kitchen together. And barely two months after we left, we were able to realise this.
Not only do I live here, today I use my experience and knowledge of entrepreneurship to inspire other young entrepreneurs and especially train them how not to make the same mistakes I did. The Blogzine Academy is really growing. Every week we welcome new members. It’s like I now have 30 companies that I share my creative entrepreneurial spirit with. And it’s a great joy to realise that every day there are entrepreneurs who believe in what I do and want to learn from me.
It’s never the end
What I have learnt in recent years is that the situation we are in today is the most important. Whether it is emotional, financial or anything else, it is never the situation we will be in a few years from now. It is not yet too late and we can still go in all directions.
Dreams and goals may change, but you need them. You have to dare to say what you want to go for. Why are you doing what you are doing today? And how does each step of what you are doing contribute to achieving your goals.
It is also not so much about achieving goals alone, but rather about doing them. Only you can do it! But you have to do it. And when you have given all that you can, then you can only be more proud. If you know that you could do more and better, then you have to think how you can use that knowledge for the future. There is no point in dwelling too much, but you must learn from your mistakes.
If there is anything I want to convey with my story, it is that you must not give up. And make wrong choices, that’s part of life. It’s how you pick yourself up that shows who you are. Never forget that!