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All of us have watched the aftermath or the devastation of a community that has been ravaged by fire or tornado.

We have seen the horrific aftermath of the shack fire that took place in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, or the aftermath of the Tsumani in Indonesia, earthquake in Japan or tornado in Haiti.

Personal possessions of people are destroyed or swept away by strong winds throughout the community.

Cars hang from split trees, houses destroyed, and massive debris makes the scene indistinguishable.

In the face of such helplessness and despair, the majority of the people from these destroyed zones always return and build again.

Despite all the emotional, physical and economic losses, despite the likelihood that it will take years to recover from the devastation in front of them, these people always teaches us that what really matters remains in tact which is:

Their lives and their loved ones, a place to come home to, a sense of family, community, connection to those around them.

Many of such people recognize how blessed they are to survive the fire, tornado, or tsunami.

With the look of defiance and gratitude, they say:

We can rebuild.

If as a startup, you make a business mistake, and find yourself having lost everything, your assets repossessed, your car, house or furniture repossessed, like those who suffered the fire, tsunami or tornado and lost everything, take solace in the fact that you can rebuild.

If your relationship is brought down to ground zero, and trust has been eroded by the winds of life, if your major customers have not paid you for yet another month, and you facing the prospects of not being able to pay full salaries to staff for yet another month, consider what you have left rather than what is destroyed.

We rebuild from what is left.

No one rebuilds on what they have lost. Rebuilding begins when you appreciate what you have left.

You may be publicly humiliated and disgraced by failure of a business or relationship, all you have left is life and your experience.

Sometimes you don’t know what matters until you have lost it all.

Rebuilding, though tedious, hard and stressful, is possible.

When you have fallen, pick yourself, stand up, dust yourself, raise your head and face the world.

Yes, it’s painful, it’s very painful.

Cry about it if you have to.

Let the tears roll down, it’s okay.

As William P. Young wrote in The Shack:

“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”¬†

Scrape around whatever tools you may find, look around, look underneath the debris, collect the tools you will need to rebuild.

Then rebuild.

From the ashes you will rise again.

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