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Failure can be devastating.

Even the most successful among of us can crumble under the weight of a single significant failure. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost your job, searching for corporate careers or through the thousands of small business ideas from home. It happens to everyone…even to the best Olympic Athlete ever. Olympic champion Michael Phelps wasn’t an exception. Now the all-time leader in gold medals won with twenty-three, many may have forgotten Phelps’ past scandals and how they threatened to destroy his career.

In a recent interview with USA Today, Phelps described himself as being in a “downward spiral” in the months before his training ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The decorated Olympian stated that he couldn’t find it within himself to even care about his training. Despite this apathy, Phelps still achieved incredible success during those games, collecting six medals – four of which were gold.

This downward spiral caused Phelps to hit rock bottom in 2014 when he was arrested for his second DUI. Phelps’ first DUI came at the age of 19, which showed that Phelps was not only guilty of drinking underage, but also lacking the common sense to avoid driving after drinking illegally. Not long after, a fellow party-goer captured a picture of Phelps smoking marijuana from a bong.

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Phelps Had Some Explaining To Do After His Run-Ins With The Law

Ten years later, Phelps had yet to “get it together”. Phelps was pulled over in a Baltimore, Maryland suburb after drinking at a nearby casino. Police were alerted to Phelps after he was seen driving over 80mph in a 45mph zone. The arresting officer noted that Phelps and his vehicle smelt of alcohol. Phelps’ speech was slurred and his eyes were red.

The second time was the charm for Phelps. He pleaded guilty to DUI charges and admitted himself into a 45 day rehabilitation program. According to Phelps, the DUI and his subsequent recovery couldn’t have come at a better time.

Rio de Janeiro - Michael Phelps, dos Estados Unidos, ganha sua 20ª medalha de ouro olímpica, nos 200m nado borboleta, nos Jogos Rio 2016. (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Phelps Was UN-REAL In Rio

In an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show, Phelps stated that he considers himself to be an alcoholic. Without treatment, Phelps would have been at risk for a myriad of health issues that could have very easily prevented him from further Olympic competition.

Many have failed to address alcoholism in their own lives or the lives of loved ones. Phelps could have easily ignored his disease. Far too many celebrities have done exactly that. Instead of letting failure continue to be the theme of his life, Michael Phelps took his DUI conviction and turned the situation into a positive in his life.

Michael went on to win an Olympic record twenty-three medals, including six gold medals in the recent Olympic Games in Rio. Now retired from swimming, Michael and fiancé Nicole Johnson are expecting their first child in May.

It’s incredible what one can achieve if he or she doesn’t give up. Michael had every reason to let his failures get the best of him. After a second DUI, he had to face the harsh reality that he had an addiction to alcohol. His sponsors were in jeopardy. His place on the United States’ swim team was in question.

Phelps Won Gold...and Then Some

Phelps Won Gold…and Then Some

Despite these challenges, Michael was able to overcome a number of poor decisions to return to the top of his field. What do the rest of us have to learn from the story of Michael Phelps?

Our past does not need to determine our future.

Maybe you’ve had a failure of your own. Nobody’s perfect. Unfortunately, some mistakes have bigger consequences than others. A less than pleasant departure from your last job might mean years of experience that you can’t put on your resume.

A dumb decision you made in high school or college may be keeping you from getting a job altogether. Sadly, millions of Americans are unable to find sufficient employment due to felony convictions. Many of those convicted of felonies are not bad people at all – they simply made a poor decision (albeit a very serious one) and now the consequences of that decision will follow them for the rest of their lives.

Now systematically disadvantaged when it comes to finding sufficient employment, these individuals have a very difficult task ahead of them if they simply want to live a life above the poverty line. That’s assuming that these individuals don’t have family members or other dependents to provide for in addition to themselves. Their career is smoked and they can’t even think about work—even the small business ideas from home.

How can we as a society expect this particular demographic to successfully integrate back into society without ample opportunities for sufficient employment and earning potential? It is my personal belief that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, even those that have made significant mistakes in their past. Unfortunately, many corporations see this issue differently.

Instead of seeing these individuals as talented employees who have made a mistake, a large majority of businesses will not even consider hiring an individual with a criminal record. Too often, these individuals are assumed to be at the best untrustworthy and at the worst potentially dangerous. So where do they turn? Do they keep bulk emailing their resumes to corporations around the country or turn to some of the small business ideas from home?

These misconceptions are often false, but they are nonetheless very effective in making sure that these intelligent, hard working individuals cannot find the employment that they so desperately need to recover from their past failures.

We All Fall Down During Life... How We Get Up and Go Forward is What Really Matters.

We All Fall Down During Life… How We Get Up and Go Forward is What Really Matters.

The government also bares a portion of the responsibility for keeping this hard-working demographic from getting back on their feet. State and federal statues legally bar those formally convicted of felonies from gaining employment in certain industries and environments. These legal restrictions represent an additional barrier for those already down on their luck. It’s no wonder that so many of those that are convicted of a felony become repeat offenders.

Often times, crime seems like the only viable method of securing the wealth necessary to provide for oneself and his family. We as a country should be better than this. There should be a path to success available for all, regardless of past mistakes or failures.

Believe it or not, such a pathway does exist. It’s not working a dead end, minimum wage job that won’t even pay enough to take care of the bills. It’s a path that allows for personal growth within a business and the only limitations are those that a person places on himself. That path is called starting a new life with one of the hundreds of small business ideas from home.

When you choose to start a home based business, you don’t have anyone to impress but yourself. You won’t have to try and explain how much you have learned and changed since making your mistake, only to leave those in the interview as skeptical as they were before they met you. That’s assuming that you even get called into an interview at all.

I understand, starting a business from home can be intimidating. It certainly doesn’t come without its risks. But really, do you think you’re getting paid a fair wage at your current job? Aren’t you ready to prove yourself? A home based business is the perfect place to start.

Instead of being defined by your past failures, you’re now defined by your role as a small business owner! After sifting through all the various options, segments and companies, choosing from one of the best small business ideas from home…you can look in the mirror and talk with the boss. Every move that your company makes is up to you. You’re the captain of your ship. You’re behind the wheel and ready to steer yourself toward financial independence and the lifestyle that you deserve.

By starting your own home based business, you’ll finally be able to take your mind off your past failures and focus your attention on all that you have to offer the world. You are an intelligent, talented and hard working person. Once you set your mind on pursuing this new goal, you will be successful. You are determined and you cannot be stopped.

Will the journey be difficult? Of course it will. Think back to the story of Michael Phelps. He knew if he was going to move forward from his alcohol addiction, he would need to ask for help. The same goes for your home based business. When you started the process of choosing one of the best small business ideas from home, you obviously envisioned the easiest & fastest path to financial freedom. But, just like everything else, it’s never easy. You will most likely need help to get your home based business off the ground. That’s ok! There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t have all the answers. Remember, that business (like life) is a learning process. Today you are beginning a journey to redefine yourself.

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Get Up and Get After It

 

You are no longer your failures.

 

Repeat that to yourself as many times as you need to. Today, we’re abandoning those past failures. We’re breaking through old barriers. Today, we’re starting fresh and beginning our new role as small business owners!

You will become known for your talents and all that you have to offer the world through your home based business. Your excellent qualities have been drowned out by your past for too long. There’s no one left to hold you down. You’re now free to earn what you’re truly worth. It’s ok to get a little excited and get pumped about choosing your very own ‘baby’ business out of the thousands of small business ideas from home.

Michael Phelps was able to overcome his personal failures and become the most successful Olympic athlete of all time. How will a home based business allow you to reach your full potential? Only time will tell, but every story must have a beginning. Is today your beginning?

Your failure doesn’t need to be devastating. In fact, in the words of Michael Phelps, it may have been “exactly what [you] needed.” Don’t let your past go to waste. Make it a diving board into a better future.

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