Admit It – Day 31

Dare to Tell – Day 31

Kelly Galea

Admit It

It’s stopping me from everything.

This morning I noticed the quote “To live in fear is an insult to our true selves” by Arianna Huffington.  It’s fear that’s been holding me back.

I had a successful corporate career and then I joined as partner in a design company.  It was very successful at first, but then I lost everything.  Very few people know about this.

My partner was a dear friend.  He brought 20 years of design experience into business and I brought the assets.  I had accumulated quite a lot from my previous career and I put everything on the line.   He was at a point where he had been a solo-entrepreneur and hadn’t experienced any growth.  When I joined him, I brought motivation and drive; the business grew by 260%.  We had lots of employees.

After our initial success we made a decision to open a retail design center.  The center opened a month before the economic slump, and everything dried up.  It was okay for a while but then the large commercial customers stopped paying and orders got cancelled.  I kept putting more money into the business; I thought I could save it.

We got help, advice and mentorship with all the people we needed.  Nothing was getting better.  Finally we were advised that we had to declare bankruptcy.  But it wasn’t just the business, it was me too.

I was horrified.  I was brought up that you have certain responsibilities, never in my life could I imagine that this would happen.

The fear makes me hide out.  I’m terrified to see how people will perceive this truth.  I mean I help them in their business yet my business was such an abysmal failure.  So I haven’t told anyone that I went through bankruptcy, I lost nearly everything.  There, I’ve said it.

Here I was; a professional, successful, intelligent person – how could I have been so stupid?

When we consulted with an attorney, he was so matter of fact about it. I realized there was a reason for this, and for the bankruptcy laws.  These things happen to people.  Forgiveness is embedded into our system so that people can wipe the slate clean and start all over again.

But for me, wipe the slate clean? I made bad decisions and choices that made this happen.

I’m quite aware of the series of small decisions that snowballed into this.

And I’m still asking myself: how could I have allowed this to happen?  I should have known better?  How could I have trusted this person?

I was raised in a family where you don’t share your problems with outsiders.  We take care of our own problems.  Well, that hasn’t been working too well for me over the last 3 years.

Now, I have to get this story out.  My shame is so connected to what people will think.

I know now that so many people can relate to this situation. I know I can help.  People on the brink of financial disaster shouldn’t have to feel the shame I’ve felt.  Just because you make mistakes, doesn’t mean you’re not still smart, you’re not able.

You know I’ve lived in a dozen different places; I’ve had many relationships and many challenges.  But I’ve been so hung up on this bankruptcy thing.  It was always so easy for me to make money.

Since I decided to tell my story, I’ve heard several people admit to the same experience.

I don’t like to enter a new year without clearing the gunk out from the previous year.  I need to come clean about this and go into 2013 strong and empowered so I can empower others.


–          Kelly Galea, From Corporate to Creative at 

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