In 2008, I was hanging 18 feet above the ground. My only anchor points were a tiny crimp-hold the size of a nickel and a rounded foot hold about 14 inches from my right shoulder.
This was my favorite bouldering route inside the rock climbing gym that I had founded, designed, and built just 15 months earlier. The gym was a huge success and had almost 500 members and a thriving community of passionate rock climbers.
After finishing my route, I walked back into the lobby to help a customer and was asked by my Co-Founder (and majority owner) to join him in the yoga room just around the corner. He asked me to sit down on a pile of rolled up mats to have a discussion.
“Dale we have to let you go.”
Wait… What?! I'm an owner… I responded. He continued on with his reasoning of how he felt I was pushing the company in the wrong direction. He believed that my job of “starting the organization” was done and now I should remain “just an owner” and let the rest of the team take it from there.
I was hurt.
I felt betrayed and almost left without concern. I spent weeks evaluating the scenario. What did I do wrong? What did they do wrong? How will I ever get passed this? And most importantly, what do I do now?
After a few weeks, I decided it would be best to sell my stock and walk away from the very thing I had poured my recent life into.
But the question still lingered. What do I do now?
How do you come back from such a fall? How do you respond? What do you tell your friends and family? How do you avoid further embarrassment and humiliation?
You do this.
1. You Never Talk Bad About People
Over the years, I've learned that hurt people hurt people. And I was hurt. If you've been screwed, release your tension in a healthy way. Talking poorly of others never benefits your situation and it almost always makes it worse. People assume that since you're willing to share bad information about someone else with them, then you're willing to share their flaws with others. They don't feel safe and you've successfully pushed even more people away in a time when you need them the most.
2. You Refocus & Rebuild With Tenacity
Setback is an incredible season to refocus your life. It's a time of serious introspection and honest feedback. It's also a time to fuel the passion required to spring back hard. To be better, smarter, and wiser. Like the old saying goes,
“the best revenge is a life well lived.”
In my scenario, I wrote out an entire 5 year plan. I was specific about the things I didn't like about myself and the traits I wanted to amplify. I set my sights on the future, and pulled the trigger.
3. You Focus On You, Not Them
Whoever thinks you can just “move on” in moments of betrayal has likely never experienced it. You will have nights of regret. You will miss memories, people, and moments. But you will get through this. Provide yourself a healthy window to process the situation. Maybe a week or two. But then you must move forward. Guard your heart and maintain a mind of intentional focus on the future. After all, you can't fix them, only you.
And for those of you wondering what happened to the rock climbing gym, it's no longer. The owners were unable to keep the organization growing and were forced to sell the company for pennies on the dollar. Who did they ask first? Me.
My answer was no.
Have you been betrayed or screwed over? What helped you get through it?
Some know me as a serial entrepreneur and Founder of Sevenly and StartupCamp, others know me as the guy who can ride a unicycle and still kickflip on a skateboard. I’m on a mission to inspire people. Will you join me?