There’s a lot of truth in the statement that ‘you can never really understand another’s view of life unless you’ve actually walked in their shoes’…
You see, unless you go though a tough situation yourself, unless you feel the feelings they feel, you are given the options they have, it’s very easy to make snap judgements.
Joe and Joanne Soap in the street tend to label people who go personally bankrupt as ‘failures’, they cannot imagine ‘living with the shame’, they think ‘liquidation is just another word for failure’, that ‘all pre-packs are just wrong and should be outlawed’, they revel in others’ misfortunes.
But in the real world….
… The reality is that when someone doesn’t know how they’re going to put bread on the table next week for their family, or pay the VAT bill so they can stay in business to fight another day, their attitudes and priorities change. The change of attitude is immense, especially for those who thought ‘that’ll never be me’.
So why do I raise this right now?
Well, yet another ‘celebrity’ has pushed the ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here/debt’ button! Martine McCutcheon. OK, not the biggest star ever to have sought bankruptcy protection, but still a household name.
The problem is the thoughts of people who are on the outside of an individual’s or company’s financial problems are little more than ‘school gates tittle tattle’, noise which frankly isn’t worth listening to. Yet when assessing their options those on the inside do consider other people’s tendencies to talk such tittle tattle. And this can lead to delay – because it’s far easier to wait for someone else to press the dreaded button. By then far more is lost, it can be more difficult to rebuild.
So why do so many people hold the opinions they do when there’s a huge list of famous, often revered, people from all walks of life who have gone into bankruptcy over the years?
Here are some of them: Abraham Lincoln; Al Jolson; Andy Gibb; Anna-Nicole Smith; Bill Roache; Bjorn Borg; Burt Reynolds; Buster Keaton; Chaka Kahn; Charles Goodyear; Chris Eubank; Christopher Biggins; Clarissa Wright; Colin Hendry; Cyndi Lauper; Daniel Defoe; David Irving; David Van Day; Debbie Reynolds; Don Johnson; Donald Trump; Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards; George Best; Handel; Henry Ford; Henry John Heinz; Immanuel Nobel; Isaac Hayes; Jerry Lee Lewis; Jim Davidson; John Barnes; Jonathan Aitken; Kim Basinger; Larry King; LaToya Jackson; Mark Twain; Marvin Gaye – I heard that one through the grapevine; MC Hammer; Meat Loaf; Michael Barrymore; Mick Fleetwood; Mickey Rooney; Mike Tyson; Oscar Wilde; Tammy Wynette; Thomas Jefferson; Tom Petty; Toni Braxton; Ulysses S.Grant; Walt Disney; William Fox; Willie Nelson; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Do I think of Meat Loaf’s bankruptcy when I’m playing Bat out of Hell large while driving? If given the chance to interview one of the founding fathers, would I talk to him about his bankruptcy? Would I refuse to do business with Donald Trump if given the chance? To pop out for dinner with Kim Basinger?
OK, some in the list are more famous than others, some are held in much higher regard than others, nevertheless there are clear messages to be drawn:
- Being good, even the very best, at what you do doesn’t make you immune from severe financial hardship;
- Bankruptcy need have no lasting effect – either on what people think of a person or their future success.
You see people and businesses can rebuild from bankruptcy provided they have the right attitude, tools and opportunity. People can change their attitude; they can seek out the right tools; they can seek out the right opportunities. All these things are manageable with the right people around them. Trying to somehow rebuild on their own doesn’t work, yet most try. And looking at bankruptcy in a negative way is a downright hindrance to rebuilding.
With this in mind, I have three simple questions for you, in fact everyone out there:
- If you or your client is swimming against the tide right now, isn’t it just a choice? Exactly when will you do something different, to get out of the hole you’re in – in this or your next life?
- Why do we as a society cling to misguided attitudes of bankruptcy? Is it through choice or ignorance?
- If others can go on to great things after bankruptcy, what’s to stop you? Really?
Just a few thoughts…
I would really appreciate your feedback, good or bad, on my ramblings.
By the way, please add me to your safe senders list.
Finally an apology, I’ve had to cancel this evening’s Cashflow Club, I’ve been called away to the Isle of Man on business. Who says an insolvency practitioner’s life in Sedgley isn’t interesting!
Midlands Business Recovery
PS If you are in a poor financial position, or if you have a client – individual or corporate – who is, get them to contact me – the sooner the better please.
Paul is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales to act as an insolvency practitioner in the UK