How This Entrepreneur Turned Hurricane Harvey into an Incredible Breakthrough

Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but also one of the most challenging and complicated ones. Certainly, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.

There will be days, especially in the beginning, when you’ll feel like throwing in the towel and simply calling it quits. You will continually get punched in the mouth; you will frequently question whether you have what it takes; and you will likely watch as family and friends lose their faith in you, letting you know in no uncertain terms that they think you are crazy.

But despite all this, I believe that if you can weather the storms and move forward amid the adversity crossing your path, you’ll be in a much better position to win and come out victorious. Regardless of your journey, it’s imperative that to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll have to overcome adversity and learn how to thrive in times of uncertainty. When the going gets incredibly tough, that’s when you become that much closer to creating transformational breakthroughs. It’s in the struggle that amazing breakthroughs are to be found, waiting to erupt.

Given this theme of adversity, I recently sat down with Lorenzo Marquez, former vice president of marketing for Cosentino and now the founder and president of Marqet Group, a full-service marketing agency servicing the design and construction industry and stone fabrication in particular.

Marquez not only made the jump into entrepreneurship and successfully started his own business, he also overcame an astounding number of hardships and setbacks throughout his journey when the unthinkable happened. Houston-based Marqet Group was growing in exposure, client base, team members and — most important — revenue, he told me. “All of those start-up fears started fading away,” he said.

The team had expanded to ten people in just five months, including graphic and web designers, account managers, copywriters and event and merchandising coordinators. “Things were going the way any aspiring entrepreneur would dream of,” Marquez said.

Then, the night of August 26, 2017, happened. As Marquez told me, “Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast and completely shattered every sense of security, not only business wise, but also personally as well.”

The next morning, he and his wife and their five children, with the youngest being only three months, plus their dog, had to be evacuated by boat to an apartment complex nearby with very minimal food and water available. The food and water that was available had to be shared by all of the families evacuated from nearby homes. The children were terrified, and, Marquez said, he began to let doubt win the battle in his mind. “My sense of stability and security was shaken to the core,” Marquez said. “The fear of losing everything had now become a reality.”

He and his family experienced the complete loss of their home, belongings, and cars. “Everything was swept away, as our home sat with 5 feet of water inside for close to two weeks.”

Marquez knew that he had to stay strong for his children. Not only was his family counting on him; so were his team members at work.

With his back against the wall, Marquez made sure his family was safe, then turned to his employees and clients. Things were bad there too: His office building was flooded for weeks and employees were scattered, trying to deal with their own losses.

But Marquez refused to put his business on the back burner. Facing the hardest time of his life, Marquez was able to regrow his business and achieve extraordinary heights.

Here are three things that Marquez said he executed on to turn an extreme tragedy into an incredible breakthrough while at the same time growing a majorly successful business. These are three actionable ideas and strategies that you can implement into your own life and business to help you turn failure and adversity into a gift.

1. Feel the fear; then take action.

Fear is real and will always be present in your life as an entrepreneur. If you don’t ever experience fear, that means you aren’t consistently stepping out of your comfort zone and going after your biggest goals and dreams.

Where many people go wrong has nothing to do with fear itself, but with how they react to the fear. As Marquez told me, “Fear attacked me when I first wanted to start my own business; then it tried to completely take over my life when Hurricane Harvey hit. I was more scared than I have ever been in my life, but I also knew that this major adversity carried a monumental opportunity along with it.”

Marquez’s message is, the next time you feel a lot of fear, don’t fight it. Acknowledge that it’s there and then take action. The best way to fight your fears is to use consistent and massive action, even if you feel that you aren’t ready to do that.

Marquez told me, “Looking back on that horrific experience, I can honestly say that the most beneficial thing that I did for both my family and business was to develop the courage to take action despite all the fear that was attacking me.” In other words, breakthroughs occur when you look your fears straight on and develop the courage to take action.

Here are two exercises that have greatly helped me overcome my fears and not let them paralyze me from moving forward.

2. Create a crystal-clear vision.

Vision is everything. If you can’t see yourself achieving it, it will never happen. Not only that, but creating a crystal-clear vision is critical in being able to overcome the short-term disappointments. Marquez told me: “There is no way that my business would have survived if it wasn’t for the clear and massive vision that I created. Every single time I felt like quitting, I pictured my family happy and safe while my business was thriving and serving the community.”

Whether it’s overcoming a personal tragedy as Marquez had to do, or moving forward despite the hardships you encounter in entrepreneurship, a clear vision is the starting point for all high success.

If you haven’t done so already, visualize what your ideal business and life looks like this week. Write that vision down, share it with others, then work the vision every waking moment. There is nothing more powerful than getting clear on what you want your life and business to stand for, then making that that a reality.

3. Develop a strong and positive support system.

Building a business can often be a lonely experience, especially in the early stages. Marquez told me, “I never knew how important a strong and positive support system truly was until my family and I were being rescued by boat when we lost our home.

“As the days and weeks went on, it was the support system that I had developed over the years that ultimately kept me going.” He continued: “It was everyone, from friends and family to customers, who were constantly in my ear reminding me how powerful I am and that my family would without a doubt overcome this tragedy. They really helped me to believe that this negative experience would somehow turn into a positive.”

Marquez is a perfect example of how critical a support system is for entrepreneurs. Not only is building your business daunting and challenging, but that happens amid the hard times of life that also unexpectedly pop up.

The School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo has expressed ideas on why a strong support system is so important and how to cultivate one. Something that has worked exceptionally well for me, personally, is to try to pick one specific support person for each area of my life. I have people to whom I can turn when it comes to business, health, relationships and spiritual support.

The story of Marquez and his family overcoming devastating loss in the face of Hurricane Harvey is just one example of thousands of brave Houstonians who exemplified what true courage and strength look like. Theirs was an example that we as entrepreneurs can all learn from.

What impressed me the most about Marquez’s story is that he didn’t stop growing his business even when he and his family lost absolutely everything they owned. That’s the type of obsession, perseverance and courage it takes to achieve greatness as an entrepreneur.

How has life changed for the Marqet Group since the hurricane? The business just moved into a new 3,000-square-foot office, continues to grow its team and has seen its revenue hit a record high.

I hope this story of persevering in the face of adversity inspires you to take full responsibility for your own business and life. It’s a prime illustration of how you truly are the driver of your own destiny regardless of how tough times may become.

 

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Best Thing to Do When You Get Knocked Down Flat on Your Face

20150806182322-boxer-knocked-out-in-the-ringImage credit: Shutterstock

Imagine reaching the top of your profession after dreaming about it since you were a child, then all of a sudden have it completely taken away from you in an instant.

That’s exactly what happened to me when I got hurt in my first game as an NFL player for the Chicago Bears. I was depressed and didn’t talk to any friends or family members for at least two weeks. My life changed forever though when I reluctantly agreed to speak at a leadership event after I received the news that I was going to be out for nine months and reached an injury settlement with the Bears.

That night, I learned a valuable lesson. When failure knocks you down and you are depressed and feeling unworthy, as if there is no way out, you absolutely must get up and get moving! Throughout the years I have had the great privilege to train and work with some of the most amazing sales organizations in the world, and to me, sales is one of the best examples of the importance of increasing action when adversity strikes.

As a salesperson, you are going to get told “no” more than you are going to get told “yes.” For most people, this is tough to deal with. Let’s face it, nobody likes rejection. The average salesperson hates how they feel when they are told “no” so they end up making less calls, visiting less prospects and doing enough to just get by and keep their jobs.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t just apply to salespeople, as ordinary folks from all walks of life have adopted that philosophy for when the going gets tough.

On the other side of the spectrum you have the salesperson who continues to make more and more money regardless of how bad the economy is. The value they bring to both the marketplace and their companies is astonishing. Everyone asks them how they do it, looking for some magical answer or secret, but in reality they aren’t doing anything else except constantly taking massive action, even when the going gets tough.

The best salespeople understand that if they made 30 calls the previous day and received 30 no’s, then they have to make 60 calls the following day to possibly get that one yes. Increasing your action when adversity hits can be a complete game changer for you. It will bring far more results than taking the easy way out. What happens when you increase action is you increase the chance of opportunities coming your way.

It’s nearly impossible to defeat the person who is willing to get back up and keep fighting. Regardless of how devastating your failure is or how much it has you in the gutter, if you are willing to promise to never get complacent and settle, failure and the hard times of life will never be able to place you in the box of mediocrity that paralyzes so many people and prevents them from tapping their inner greatness.

Some of the world’s greatest achievers weren’t necessarily more talented, they just never gave up when they got knocked down on their faces. Whatever it is, just get moving. The whole moral behind increasing your action is to take complete charge of what’s to come.

Most of the time when someone experiences a major failure, they just sit back and wait for life to happen. Over time you will quickly learn that this way of living serves no purpose.

I didn’t know that speaking at the leadership event after I got injured would introduce me to my purpose or help me look at failure in a different light, but it did. It’s all because I made the decision to get out of bed, stop feeling sorry for myself and get moving.

One thing that you need more of when failure knocks you down is self-confidence. Taking massive action does exactly that. Failure in itself becomes a graveyard for so many. The fear of failure grows so strong that any chance of getting started is beyond a long shot. The likelihood of pursuing a dream or passion in life is slim to none.

Failure combined with inaction is extremely deadly and will completely rob you of doing any meaningful work. One of the best things you can do for yourself right now is to decide that you won’t wait for things to be perfect, because things will never be perfect. One of the most surefire ways to change how you feel is to get moving!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Forget All of the BS

Forget all of the problems.

Forget all of the violence.

Forget all of the disappointment.

Forget all of the hate.

Forget all of the doubt.

For a brief moment, take your mind completely off all of the negativity. Focus on all of the positive and promising possibilities instead. Remind yourself of how much you are capable of doing in this lifetime.

And if you can’t see all of the wonderful possibilities for your life, then start speaking them into existence. Plant the seeds now!

All too often, worry and anxiety creep in and steal our joy and power. We forget how powerful we really are.

That’s why it’s very important to turn your attention away from that mess. Instead, remind yourself of all the blessings in your life. The possibilities for your future.

Where we direct our focus is the direction our life will move. If we continue to focus on everything that is going wrong, that’s exactly where our life will head. But when we choose to look at the blessings, more good will come our way.

Forget all of the BS!

Do This One Thing During Tough Times

We have all had the bad seasons; the tough and discouraging times in our lives. During those times, it’s very easy to be tempted to talk about how unlucky we are or how bad things really are.

Maybe you just got out of a really long relationship.

Maybe you visited the doctor for a routine checkup to find out you have cancer.

Maybe a loved one recently passed away.

Maybe you’re in financial trouble.

Whatever it is you are facing right now, please understand this: The more you talk about something, the bigger it becomes in your mind. The bigger it becomes in your mind, the more it takes over your whole entire life.

Instead of focusing on the negative and telling ourselves how bad things are, we have to make a strong stand and say, “No, this challenging situation is not going to bring me down. I am not going to let fear override all of the beauty that surrounds me. I am blessed and highly favored. I am a victor, not a victim.”

Even if we can’t see how things will play out, we have to start speaking victory over our lives, not defeat.

Silence The Noise And Fight For Your Dream

Fight-For-Your-Dreams

This is extremely important. Just because people tell you that you’re out of your mind or dreaming way too big, doesn’t mean you have to listen!

I am a prime example of what can happen when you silence all of the negativity and go to work on your dream, whatever your dream is, every waking moment.

In high school, I was told I will either be dead or in jail by the time I was 21. When I came to my senses and had a very special moment with the man upstairs, I decided once and for all that I wanted to change my life.

At the time, the only way I knew how to pay back those I hurt and loved the most, was through athletics. Right then and there began a whole new journey for me. I proudly went around telling all of my family and friends that I wanted a Division One scholarship for football.

People laughed at me, even those who loved me most. What did I do? Silenced the external noise and fought day and night for my dream. Every waking moment I worked on my craft and just knew that I was going to make something of myself.

Six months later, I received a total of 19 Division One scholarship offers from some of the most prestigious athletic programs in the country.

Once I got to college at Indiana University, it began all over again. I repeatedly was told, “You made it collegiately, but you will never play a down of professional football.” I kept working on my dream and most importantly never lost faith. Three years later, I signed a contract with the Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately, I suffered an injury while playing the San Diego Chargers. The same old noise and negativity found its way back into my life. Over and over again I was told how athletes never make anything of themselves once they are done playing their sport.

The injury I sustained wasn’t career ending, but I was out long enough to reflect back on my journey. This is where I discovered my true purpose. My WHY.

Three years later, I have a phenomenal team of 7, and I get to travel and speak to some of the greatest companies in the world.

Please understand, none of this is to impress you, but to impress UPON you. That if I can do half of what I have done throughout my 26 years of life, you can too.

Never lose belief in yourself and all that you are capable of. Always remember to work day and night towards your goals, and NEVER listen to the opinion of others when it comes to YOUR dreams.