10 Tips for Bouncing Back from Major Adversity


In 2010, I went into business with some bad people. The experience knocked me flat on my back – financially and emotionally. But, to quote a brilliant Mexican proverb, “ells trataron de enterrarme, pero lo que no sabian era que yo era una semilla” (Translation: They tried to bury me, but they didn’t know I was a seed).

Below are ten strategies I utilized to come out of the experience better, happier and more successful:

Strategy #1 I accepted full responsibility for everything that happened.

EVERYTHING! It all starts with owning it. It doesn’t matter if it was or wasn’t my fault. Blaming others got me nowhere. I choose my partners. I ignored my wife’s repeated advice to end the relationship despite all of the evidence that they were bad people.

I made choices and choices have consequences.


Strategy #2: I had a plan and I worked that plan like my life depended on it

I remember this moment so vividly. I was in Chicago at a conference and I was at a crossroads in my life. I called my sister, Eileen, and her advice was pivotal to my rebound. She said, “Tim, write your plan out and work that plan day-in and day-out because your family is counting on you.”

And work that plan I did. Like a machine.


Strategy #3: I reclaimed my personal brand and started promoting it again.

I must admit, I doubted myself. Despite all I had accomplished in the past, it was scary starting over. But I had no choice. I spent 10 years building myself up as a personal branding and business development expert and it was time to reclaim the space I had abandoned.

People used to ask me “What’s the best way to rekindle an old relationship I had neglected?” My answer was always the same. Just start. It was the same with my re-emergence. I didn’t make any announcement that I was back. I just started being back and before I knew it, it as if I never left.

Strategy #4: I tapped into my network of superstars

This is what saved me. I dug my well before I was thirsty so when I needed help, I just asked. I cannot tell you how many people were thrilled to work with me again. I was so touched and will never forget their generosity.


Strategy #5: I went deep with key centers of influence

I picked my ten best centers of influence and spent an hour or two with each sharing my new vision and asking for help. The response in terms of introductions and ideas were overwhelming.


Strategy #6: Listened to Think and Grow Rich, repeatedly

I had abandoned my appetite for learning. I went back to the basics. For me Think and Grow Rich sustained me. The constant reminder of the importance of my definitive, major purpose made me unstoppable.

I relistened to Think and Grow Rich at least five times. Until I was well on my way back.



Strategy #7: I visualized and repeated mantras

I have always believed in the power of positive thinking and visualization. Let me tell you how I know without question that it works. I sat down and reviewed my financial needs. I established a monthly income I had to make to stabilize everything.

I would repeat that number over and over with all the intensity I could summon. I would shout it in my car as a drove to work down the Freeway, as I ran around the Rose Bowl, in the morning as I was getting ready for work.

At the end of the year, I came in $1,115 over my goal.

It works.



Strategy #8: I relied on my family

I cannot say enough about my wife. She was my rock and my confidant. Despite my deaf ears to her advice that I was in a partnership with bad people, she never once said, “I told you so.” Not once. Patricia was my number one fan.

If that woman left me, I’d go with her.


Strategy #9: I believed in me

Remember I said it was all my fault? Well that includes the positives too. I am responsible for those outcomes as much as I am the misfortune I experienced.

Nothing ever happened to me. Events in my life happened because of me.

I knew deep down I had talent. I repeatedly reminded myself of all I had accomplished. I re-programmed my mindset. I remember thinking about all the wonderful experiences I had enjoyed as a direct result of what I had built, and I remember saying to myself, “There is no way in the world that I could have thought I'd have all of these wonderful experiences in my life”

And you know what? I have enjoyed so many of the same experiences and many more!


Strategy #10: My faith in God sustained me

My wife would say to me, “I admire you. The worse it gets the stronger your faith gets.” I was so proud that she saw that in me.

I honestly don’t know how people make it in this world, especially through the tough times, without faith in God.

Because of my faith I never once compromised my integrity. Not once. And this is because at the end of the day, I know I will have to answer to God.



Today, because of the 10 strategies above, I am back better, stronger and more successful than ever!

It is true, “The best revenge is living well” ?


Timothy OBrien