I was summoned to the court at 9am on: 09-09-09
And it was the best thing I ever did.
Sometimes we don’t know why things happen.
It was without doubt one of the worst times of my life, and not a decision I took lightly.
I was gridlocked with fear.
It seemed to course through every inch of my body, as I lived on tenterhooks as the situation got gradually worse: not being able to answer the phone; fearful every morning as the postman delivered more demands; and dreading what the future held for me.
Bankruptcy was a complete surprise to me, and came along with overwhelming shame and denial as well as the fear.
I wrote about this extensively in my first novel ‘If You Could Have Anything, What Would It Be?’, with my experience channeled through a character called ‘Meg’. Here is an excerpt from ‘If You Could Have Anything’:
The end of the financial year was fast approaching, and Meg had been putting off making an appointment with her accountant. Not only was she dreading facing the actual losses that her company had acquired, but she didn’t even know how she was going to pay her accountant. She knew it was a mess but it was much easier to pretend it wasn’t happening.
As the deadline got closer Meg had absolutely no choice but to pluck up the courage to make the appointment, which was scheduled for later in the week. Meg took along all her paperwork (she was very good at keeping everything organised) and with a heavy heart sat opposite her accountant Neil.
“Meg, it’s good to see you,” he said.
“Yes, good to see you too, Neil, but I’m afraid things have got much worse since the last time we spoke.” Meg was surprised how good it actually felt to be honest about her finances, rather than the customary, “Yes, everything is great,” nonsense that she would say to people in passing, if they asked.
“I had feared that would be the case, Meg and I’m really sorry to hear confirmation of what I suspected,” Neil continued “Let’s have a look at your profit and loss spreadsheet and why don’t you run through what’s going on.”
The two of them sat for around half an hour breaking down all the figures when Neil suddenly said something that stunned Meg.
“I think you should go bankrupt, Meg.”
The words hung in the air for what seemed like ten minutes before Meg finally replied, “You are joking.”
“No, Meg. You have got over £30,000 of debt through this business with no way of paying it back, and you have no assets. It is my advice that this is by far the best course of action for you.”
They discussed bankruptcy further, with Neil providing some information about the government debt helpline for Meg to take home with her.
One of Meg’s friends worked close by and she found herself gravitating towards his shop laden with this heavy information.
“Bankruptcy!” Jon said.
“I know, it’s insane, isn’t it?” she replied.
“It’s very drastic,” Jon stated.
“I have a lot to think about and he’s given me a website to look up, so I’m going home now to do that.” Meg said her goodbyes and as she walked home she felt like she was floating about the ground, and everything around her seemed out of focus. She could not believe what she had just heard, bankruptcy, really? It was crazy.
At the time it felt like my world had shattered.
I was a failure.
I’d lost everything.
And it was the culmination of my first nine entrepreneurial years, where I had yo-yoed between huge financial success (selling my business in Thailand for a great profit) to losing it all and returning to the UK with nothing. On my return I invested into a national children’s yoga franchise, along with many others, but unfortunately the franchisor’s projected figures were unrealistic and once again I lost it all.
I took comfort in the fact that many top business owners have been bankrupt, and deep down knew it was absolutely the right thing for me to do.
However, I really had hit rock bottom and telling my parents was scary and the shame I felt as I plucked up the courage to make the call was palpable.
This is how I wrote about it in ‘If You Could Have Anything’:
Meg was slowly coming around to the idea that this was in fact the right thing to do and somehow had to break the news to her parents. Everyone wants their parents to be proud of their achievements, so telling them that your business has failed and you have over 30 grand of debt is hard. Meg knew this was going to be a tough phone call because her Dad’s best friend was a retired accountant! As soon as she said the words and ‘bankruptcy’ hung inside the phone line somewhere between them, her Dad said, “Do you know what, we all feared that was going to happen.”
Meg laughed with relief.
“I thought you’d be angry or something, Dad.”
“No, Roger said ages ago that bankruptcy was on the cards because you have no assets.”
Meg felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders, but still felt so disappointed that she had messed things up so badly.
“How did I go so wrong though?”
“You mustn’t think like that Meg” her Dad assured her. “It wasn’t your fault, it was those hard-selling franchise owners who fed you a cock-and-bull story. All you did wrong was fall for their lies, and anyway you weren’t the only one, were you?” he said.
This was very true. As it turned out there were about 20 unhappy franchisees who were all in the same boat as her: sold a dream that never materialised, and in huge debt because of it.
They chatted further then said their goodbyes. Meg sat with her head in her hands and cried for the first time since the word bankruptcy had been uttered. She cried because she was relieved, because she was sad, and because she now had the unenviable task of telling her four teachers and all the schools they were working in that the company had gone bust.
I felt I was standing on unstable ground (I was drinking heavily at the time too which of course didn’t help) with a trapdoor beneath me which opened sending me free-falling downwards into a deep dark scary pit. Unbeknown to me at the time I was actually descending to a new reality, one where I would in the future find everything that I had ever searched for.
And once I’d had that conversation with my parents my spirit was lifted and emotionally I was able to let go of the shame and instead welcome the relief that the bankruptcy gifted.
I could breathe again.
I had given myself a clean slate, a fresh start, and a blank new chapter lay before me.
This day six years ago really was the first day of the rest of my life.
I felt light that day.
And I knew in my heart that it was happening because it was meant to.
Even though it was a difficult time for me, I trusted.
In fact TRUST became my teacher for the next few years.
I learnt how to let go.
And as I let go of the past, and began to truly trust myself, I released my frozen position of fear and debt…and so moved into the world of freedom.
I dove even deeper into personal development and meditation post bankruptcy, and with my clean slate started visioning and creating the EXACT life that I wanted.
Today I drove my 4×4 to the station and I’m on route to attend a days mentoring with someone who I have been drawn to and wanted to work with for a number of years.
This is my reward.
I wanted to mark the occasion somehow.
And in the last six years EVERTHING has manifested that’s on my vision board.
Winning an award; working with an inspirational mentor who can push me even further; becoming a motivational speaker; being financially comfortable; having wonderful relationships with my husband, step-children, family and friends; a beautiful home; great health; and a flourishing business.
And the very last thing (in the last month!) was a 4×4 car (a very cool old Range Rover), which is now my reality.
I have watched as I claw myself out of the deep dark scary pit that I was in six years ago and not only have I climbed out, but am now at the very top of a Himalayan sized mountain!
It feels that a cycle has been completed and now I am being called to share my experience with the world.
A new book is being written.
Blogs are flowing.
There are no secrets.
The resistance has gone.
I am totally 100% in service to the world.
It was all for something.
My experience all there BECAUSE I am able to translate what I’ve been through to help others.
And I am on top of the world.
In heaven here on earth.
And as ever what has supported me throughout all of this has been meditation.
The connection to source.
The connection to who I really am underneath all of the stress I’ve been through.
So wherever you find yourself right now, even if it is at the bottom of a deep dark scary pit, I’ve been there too. I know how it feels. It may be shit, but it wont be like that forever if you choose NOW to change it.
ps. And if you are interested in the whole story, then you can read my book ‘If You Could Have Anything…What Would It Be?’ in paperback or kindle on Amazon via the link below.
As ever please let me know what you think.
Do these words resonate?
And what are you CHOOSING today? xxx
Copyright: Jo De Rosa September 2015