I recently ran into a business acquaintance who had fallen on hard times. When I say “business acquaintance” I mean I used to work for him in college. When I say “hard times” I mean he no longer owns the business, but is back to working for someone else.

This is a guy who by all accounts was very successful. Someone I looked up to as a business mentor. But now, due to a series of (very) poor financial decisions, he’s back to square one.

He wasn’t completely a self-made man. His family had a very successful small business which he had grown and sold. He then started a restaurant which became very successful. Which is now bankrupt.

It’s a sobering fact to realize that I’m now more successful than he is, based not so much on my own accomplishments, but on how far he’s fallen. it’s also a wakeup call that even small decisions can have major consequences, so I better make sure to make the right ones.

I don’t like to see businesses fail. Especially one that I worked for and have many good memories surrounding. But the nature of life and business is cyclical. Change is constant. There is a season of growth, stagnation, then decline. And finally death.

It’s a good reminder that no business is permanent, but to enjoy the journey.

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