4 Inspirational Entrepreneurs in Recovery
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.
Taking the entrepreneurship journey is very similar to taking the sobriety journey. From the get-go you are running against the wind. It may seem tough at first, but after a while you realize that the wind is imperative for you to keep flying.
I have been an entrepreneur for over eight years now. I have been sober for just as many years. Throughout my journey I have had ups and downs, obstacles, moments when I have wanted to give up and triumphs that have kept me on track. One of the most important things I learned when I was in recovery in Boise, Idaho was to keep my motivation up by studying other people like me. In this blog post I will go over four of my favorite entrepreneurs in recovery.
- Richard Taite – Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center has always been something to look up to, not only as an ideal recovery center, but as the ideal entrepreneur business. When I first read Richard Taite’s story I was inspired, it made me understand that working hard, focused and for yourself (just like in recovery) will lead to success, Taite has been growing non-stop for some years, after realizing in his life the same thing we all realize while in recovery. First, you need to give back, reach out to someone who needs a hand just as someone reached out to you, then you need to invest and believe in yourself, finally you need to take chances and enjoy life without allowing anything to hold you back.
- Kevin Kirby – One thing all of recovering addicts have in common, is the will and need to help others going through the same problems they once had, either in a small or big scale you always try to help and extend your hand to someone else in need, because, as Kevin says, “There is as much a stigma attached to people suffering from the disease as there is to those who survived the disease”. His story is motivating because not only did he manage to survive, but he also understood the necessity to reach out and help those people that were being overlooked and left out. His company, ‘Face it Together’ has established partnerships with various organizations around the US in order to provide help and insurance to people suffering from addictions starting in the workplace, creating with this both a conscience regarding a problem that is growing everyday, and providing a solid base for better company-employee relations.
- Mattea Schmitz – Growth and personal development are two words that can describe this successful entrepreneur clearly. Being an addict since age 14, Mattea went through very dark places for over 10 years and even though she managed to keep up with school at times and odd jobs she hit bottom when she landed in prison at the age of 24. She went into recovery at Common Ground Center, where she finished her treatment and went out to the world as a new person. Some years later she went back for an interview and she got a job as an assistant, showing everyone that recovery works and pays off; eventually, her hard work plus her amazing skills allowed her to buy Common Ground, the place that had given her a second chance. Today, Mattea is not only helping other people, but growing and proving that “you have too much potential to just settle”.
- Jonathan Hinshaw founder of RevenueLove.com – There is a sentence that Jonathan uses that I feel summarizes everything clearly when you are an entrepreneur coming from addiction, “Passion is a lot like desperation: it is a motivating, energizing force that can propel us forward”, and while desperation moves you for the most part while in addiction, passion drives you when you get out; you need to use the passion you have for your business, you need to take all the good feelings you are re-discovering and apply them to both your personal and professional life, being sober brings hope and hope (along with a lot of work) helps you through recovery and helps you widely in making your business grow.
When I came out of the rehab center in Idaho for the last time eight years ago I had to face the ‘what do I do now?’ moment; building something, such as my own business was definitely an amazing way to go. Even though being an entrepreneur is not easy, it is as rewarding as it is fulfilling. There are many former addicts that have taken the path of entrepreneurship, whether that is your path or not, you can surely learn and become inspired by them. Do not give up, remember what Henry Ford said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Thank you for reading and good luck.