I could have started this topic with "a friend of mine has a problem", but we're not kids, aren't we? :)
It is about me and my problem (which, I think, is not so uncommon and deserves a thread on a forum like this).
I started a business right before the beginning of the economical crisis, and been struggling with it ever since, trying to get it working... Some of the clients went bankrupt without paying what they owe us, others were just postponing the payment, there was a lot of financial problems with paying our obligations to coworkers and banks...
I should have quit or do something differently, but I just continued to struggle - like those people in movies who panic in the quicksand, sinking deeper while fighting to stay on the surface and get out.
So, with no intention at all to fool or cheat anyone, it appears that I couldn't keep my promises, I lied, didn't keep my word, failed to deliver... Regardless of what caused it and how I felt about it, the final results lead to that conclusion. Especially since it didn't happen just once, but been happening over and over again for 3 years.
Now I feel like I really ruined my reputation and I don't know is there a way to fix it...
On the bright side, i didn't actually commit any crime :) And I never hid away from the people involved, they all know my side of story (while i'm not sure do they believe in it) and know where they can find me.
But bad news travel fast, i feel like my reputation is ahead of me, even when I meet new people (while that could be just 'feelings', i'm sure there's a part of it which is true).
So, what to do? How to restore the lost integrity, reputation and self esteem?
I don't know. But I'll make some comments.
Restoring integrity: how about steps 1-3 of the 12 steps? They're for anyone who has something he's powerless over
Restoring self-esteem: Depends on what you base it on. Better not to base it on your performance; we all screw up.
Restoring your rep: I wonder if you need to. If you did, people might do business with you, and it hasn't been long since that was a bad idea. Maybe it still is. Time will tell. Maybe the rest of those 12 steps will help. (I don't usually focus on these, but they seem relevant here.)
Thanks for the replies. :)
SteveSF, thanks for the praise, it does take some courage because writing this was quite uncomfortable. Also was resisting to the idea of deleting the whole topic :) I hope the whole discussion helps someone else to solve his own thing.
Will, thanks for the idea on 12 steps. I didn't know about it, but it appears that I've already done some (4,5, 7, 8, 9, 10) which made me realize that I spent too much time trying to stay on the surface in one place, while I should pick a direction and swim towards the more solid ground.
I'm actually not a big mess, regarding the "facts on paper", but the feelings are quite bad, I probably need to fix those first to be able to get over this and move on.
You know that feeling when you have a great car, it's good looking and shiny and you're proud of it. Then you somehow damage it. The damage is fixable and, once fixed, the car will act the same and look the same as it did, but somehow it still doesn't feel the same anymore. That's me now.
I'm an attorney. I've screwed up major before. Honestly, the only way to get it back is to earn it back. Early in career, I ruined cases based upon my own incompetence, laziness, or inattentiveness. The only way I was able to fix my reputation was by hard work over a long period of time.
It sucks, but you can gain your reputation back. But you need to demonstrate it.
Endure, and work it off. People are what they do, not their reputation.