The Bankruptcy of Comfort

In 2003 I started a career coaching company and worked as the only employee.

The company did very well, particularly if you looked at the turnover and the ‘front end’ of the company. The turnover grew each year, marketing and sales were doing great and the company was able to do business with small and big companies, building on innovative propositions and good perception management.

Over 10 years, the company grew to be a small multi-millions business with about 50 employees. It was very successful. I see that my qualities – in contacting people, especially at management level, outlining a strategy, developing a vision and inspiring colleagues and customers with it, were the cornerstones for the success.

The Illusion of a ‘Successful’ Company Exposed

But there was also another side. While other companies thought we were big and solid, which I wanted them to believe, the reality was very different. We were actually, at least in the first years, small and not very well organised.

The company appeared to be my ‘dream’ job as it had all the aspects that I enjoyed such as being a leader, marketing, sales and flexibility. I did only those things that interested me and that I was good at, avoiding matters that I did not want to do or that really needed my attention, such as conservatively managing the finances.

I was avoiding leading this company responsibly and spent too much money on keeping up appearances and growth, something I had learned at a very young age from observing my father. As a child we lived in houses that were too big for what we could afford and my father spent money on dreams that often did not come true.

The Comfort of a ‘Good’ Life

But the biggest thing was comfort: the comfort of having a ‘good’ life.

Financially the company was not doing well because I did not want to face the reality of the unsustainable growth. First I did everything myself, then I employed managers who were drawn to the company by my big dreams and the fact that we would grow, sell shares, cash a lot of money and be financially independent. It was the typical dream of an entrepreneur – work very hard and then cash in.

The new management team worked in line with my vision, leading the company but not taking real responsibility or solving and truly managing the financial side of the company. I saw all of this but chose to close my eyes. Instead, and with my approval, I let the management team work out more sophisticated financial techniques and arrange heavy extra loans to camouflage that the company was financially in bad shape.

I was working many hours but didn’t want to commit to doing what really needed to be done. I loved the work but only the parts that were not challenging. I knew I had to face the reality of having to make decisions that would take away the good salary and comfortable lifestyle.

The Beginning of the End

Then came Universal Medicine. Meeting Serge Benhayon was the biggest shift in my life, ever.

For a year I fought what Serge Benhayon was presenting. Then on the last day of a Universal Medicine course in the UK, Serge walked by me and I cried as I surrendered to the love that I felt, and the love he lives and emanates so unconditionally.

I – or better said my body – felt that I had returned home and found the truth I had always been looking for. My head followed what my heart had felt. Things started to shift in my company.

I became more aware of what was happening and felt what people were really doing. Although I felt that things were not right, I avoided speaking up or taking any action. I avoided taking responsibility because I was afraid how people would react. I was afraid of the confrontations if I was to start to express what I felt and, in particular, the confrontation of saying to a close colleague that I did not trust him any more.

Serge shared with me “Just be ALL of you,” but I chose for a year to not live this, choosing to hide from my responsibility, making myself small, not speaking my truth. Instead I pretended it would all work out fine somehow, without my having to take any action. I talked a lot about what I should do, but in the end I did not do it.

When I eventually started expressing all that was not true and asked my direct colleague to leave, it was too late. This resulted in a management fight, which ended in the two other managing directors leaving, together with some other employees.

That was good… I thought. But I then gave my power away – again – to an interim management team, which said that the company was in such a bad shape that I had to declare bankruptcy.

I was not living ALL of me, not being in my power and not being discerning as to what could be done as a team, following advice almost blindly by excusing myself it was too much of a task for me to get the turnover that was needed to survive. I now see that by being ALL of me, which is living in my power without fear, and by really working together with the remaining employees instead of doing it all on my own, we could have made a turnaround.

Going Bankrupt

As proposed by the interim financial manager, giving my power away once again, I filed for bankruptcy, a scenario I never imagined. The consequences were huge.

The bankruptcy resulted in a financial and emotional shock for many employees and business partners, leaving many bills unpaid. Some people were relying so much on the company that all of a sudden they did not have any money at all, not even being able to pay for their groceries at the shop. When I heard this, my heart crumbled.

All of this because I was avoiding responsibility and choosing the comfortable life, living selfishly.

I now realise that this company could have made a huge impact on humanity if I had chosen to honour myself and my employees and expressed sooner what I was feeling. I could have shown the world a different approach to work, that if you make it about people first, results would take care of themselves.

In the business world, there are so many corporate institutions that are successful because of the people, but these corporations have somehow turned into machines using people (the ‘human resources’) for the sole purpose of getting more and more turnover and profit. My company could have been a living example that appreciating and deeply valuing people is our way forward.

The consequences were huge for me as well, but the biggest effect was that I gave up on life and started withdrawing from the world.

A New Way of Life and Working

Since the bankruptcy, I have had a total astounding makeover as a (working) person, a 180° turnaround. I am learning and do very much appreciate the BIG steps I have taken. I am returning more and more to being the tender, loving and deeply sensitive man that I was as a child, being far less protected than I was.

I have learned what it is to really commit and I am learning to make it about people first and not about turnover and results. Gone is the arrogance that I am the creator of ideas and companies. Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make, and this insight has humbled me.

I have now chosen to live a purposeful life and make it about love, truth and God. Comfort and laziness are definitely out, as I learned the hard way. I am learning every single day. I am amazed to see this loving, tender, caring, beautiful, very powerful man that is surfacing. A new, different leader.

My intention is to – yes, don’t be surprised – start a new ‘true’ company in time. I have learned and won’t be making the same mistakes ever again.

I feel a forever student, who never stops being amazed about the beauty of this life. I am now more committed to continue to learn and evolve: not to better myself and have a better life, but to truly have an impact on this world. Not alone, but together with many people… it’s time for making life about people first.

Thanks to Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon, his family and the many inspiring students of The Way of The Livingness, I know there is another way… also another way in work and how to run a company.

With deep appreciation for the unconditional love, support and teachings of Serge Benhayon. He never stopped loving me, whatever I did or chose to do. Thank you Serge.

By Anonymous

Further Reading:
ComfortWork Is Medicine
My Relationship With Work: Choosing To Be All of Me
True Leadership and Teamwork – Talk to an Ant

487 thoughts on “The Bankruptcy of Comfort

  1. ‘I did only those things that interested me and that I was good at, avoiding matters that I did not want to do or that really needed my attention, such as conservatively managing the finances.’ I know this pattern really well Anonymous! Only very recently have I learnt and fully digested that we must be equally dedicated to every act and movement and area of life, otherwise those bits we imagine we are good at, aren’r as good as we think, in terms of the actual quality involved.

  2. I love the title of this blog. The word bankruptcy is usually used to described someone’s financial situation but if we consider that everything is energy, and within every interaction there is an energetic exchange taking place, then it could also be used to describe our energy levels. Comfort is when we basically choose to cruise and don’t make the choices to keep evolving. When we say no to evolution and yes to comfort we literally drain ourselves and therefore our energy in the myriad of ways that we can. If we are drained, we become tired. If we continue upon this path we become exhausted and so on and so on. So in a way we could say we are energetically bankrupt (or empty) when keep going in a state of tiredness and exhaustion.

  3. True success is not about financial wealth and material things true wealth and richness is about the richness our connection with our essence brings us and offers humanity.

  4. Amazing how even bankruptcy can be an opportunity to truly take stock and re-assess our way of living for the true better.

  5. This is a wake up call for all, wise words “I was working many hours but didn’t want to commit to doing what really needed to be done.” There is a striking difference between, doing and doing….we can get caught up inn what gets us kudos, status, money and cruisey ride in life, but are we really living the true purpose. Something that I reflect on regularly to keep me aware of what feels true and what does not feel true. Everyday we are offered reflections to support us to feel our true purpose in life.

  6. Bankruptcy is a state which is feared by many people, but how are people with themselves and how deeply do they care about themselves. Often work is a distraction not to connect with oneself, so there stays an emptyness which exhausts and this can lead to being bankrupt of love.

  7. This is great to hear, ‘I have learned what it is to really commit and I am learning to make it about people first and not about turnover and results. Gone is the arrogance’.

  8. Thank you anonymous for coming to such an honest account of your business. How we compartmentalise – not embracing that life and business is about everything. How many businesses only focus on the profit, the comfort, the trimmings? I love your line, “Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make, and this insight has humbled me.” Brotherhood, unity, equality is vital; too many work for self and not for the whole and not appreciating the true purpose of the business, which is about supporting humanity.

  9. ‘I – or better said my body – felt that I had returned home and found the truth I had always been looking for. My head followed what my heart had felt. Things started to shift in my company.’ When we allow the heart to lead it is like shifting gears into a more subtle and finer resonance, and then this has an effect on all around us, as you so well describe here Anonymous. This is the ‘quantum leap’ needed for our race to take, the ‘one giant step for humanity’.

  10. I went to a conference the other day that was full of big and exciting ideas and innovations, many of them successful. But there was a hollowness to some of what I heard – it seemed to lack substance. Perhaps this was because much of it was driven by the same ‘work hard and cash in’ ethos described here. How very different business will be when we make it about people and true service first.

  11. Thank you for the inspiration in your words,’Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make.’ They hold the potential to change the world, if people choose to take them to heart.

  12. You have the opportunity to do this if you start a new company, ‘I could have shown the world a different approach to work, that if you make it about people first, results would take care of themselves.’ The world needs to see this more and more, Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon are inspiring in how they run their business.

  13. ‘As a child we lived in houses that were too big for what we could afford and my father spent money on dreams that often did not come true.’ How often do we all do this? Even if we really cannot afford to live in bigger houses we crave and dream about the perfect home that will deliver us the happiness we are searching for. In the UK there are house programs abound selling us the picture ideal of a perfect life. Yet we are never supported to see that it the quality of relationship we have with ourselves in truth and love first before the building of a relationship with another, which is the ultimate bringer of joy.

  14. “Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make, and this insight has humbled me.” This is a beautiful statement. I have also learnt that there can be many markers for success in our own lives as well as in business. Some markers are truer than others and the quality of relationships is a great reflection on the development and evolution of people.

  15. Comfort makes me bankrupt in so many ways. It robs me of physical energy, it hurts my body to hold back, it stifles my expression and it delays the evolution of all of us when I choose any form comfort because everything is everything and affects everything.

  16. The understanding and insight you have gained from this experience is something that all in the corporate world could learn from. When we lose connection with ourselves, and with the true purpose of what we are doing then everyone loses out – and there is no true success no matter how much money is made.

  17. This is very healing to read, it is a wise message for those that could be heading this way at work or at home, it is also a a great support for people who find themselves in the situation where they have let “illusion of success” mask the reality of the situation. It shows how we can unite a group under some grand vision of comfort or unite a group to make a true impact on the world. All in all I love how it takes away the shame of going bankrupt and seeing this as part of a necessary process if you have let yourself become wayward in some way.

  18. The very stark and sobering results of one persons abnegation from responsibility are well tabulated here… a very honest account of our need to understand this most important aspects of our life … responsibility.

  19. Wow what a powerful blog Anonymous; thank you for highlighting the pitfalls of comfort and in turn bankruptcy.
    Such credit to you that you have learnt to manage (yourself and others) differently and all power and love to you as you develop a new company letting your heart do the leading. I love the lessons you have shared with us in this blog, thank you.

  20. What a very humbling account of what can happen when we don’t begin with the value and appreciation of people first, including ourselves and all as equal. What a different world we would live in and a beautiful lead forward you will be Anonymous as you begin this true way next time. The principle of this blog could and needs to be applied to everything in life.. when we make all of our relationships about people first, in value and understanding of our essence firstly all else takes care of itself and there is nothing for us to control or even have expectations for.

  21. ‘I was avoiding leading this company responsibly and spent too much money on keeping up appearances and growth’… Focussing on one aspect whilst dismissing another will always equal a compromise to the whole – no matter how long we seemingly ‘get away with it’.

  22. Hello and I could see you presenting or writing about this all, if you haven’t already. I find myself wanting to know more, more detail. I would say there are many businesses and people in the same spot as you and your business were and are now possibly just holding on. What better person than you to get some clarity with what’s going on for these businesses. I’m not saying everyone will take notice but at the same time it would be great to have this type of teaching out there for us all. Thank you for your frank honesty in what was a turning point for you.

  23. Goes to show that every aspect of our lives offers us a constant opportunity for growth and learning.
    There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but lessons and learning, development or delay.

  24. When I read your piece I realised how we get caught and tricked by thinking that being successful is a good thing when it obviously can mask what life is truly about. So having money can be a good thing as it can also be a big distraction from what we could otherwise be doing with life.

  25. “The Comfort of a ‘Good’ Life” this is really what keeps us bound in our patterns of behaviour that are keeping us as a society stuck. We love the comfort, we love the feeling it gives us, but do we? We crave it, but actually we loath it on another level, because our bodies know that we are made from something so much more than what we are taking responsibility for.

  26. Material wealth brings a want for more material goods, and a cycle that is never satisfied ensues, until we stop and realise that all the wealth in the world will never fill the void we feel from living everyday without our essence.

  27. Given all that you have been through with your previous business, how inspiring is it that not only are you considering starting a new business but you have evolved as a leader, one that makes their business about people first? There is also a humbling lesson here for all of us about the pitfalls of hiding in our own comfort and not being true to yourself.

  28. Thank you Anonymous for this very honest blog. I myself do not have my own business but I have been employed at companies for about 20 years. Reading your blog reminds me that everyone – no matter if you have your own business or if you are employed – has the responsibility to speak truth and say what needs to be said. Many employees, may be most of them, shy away from speaking their truth because they do not want any trouble at the workplace and/or fear disadvantages for themselves and their career for this is real and cannot be dismissed as many manager and employer in fact do not want to hear truth.

  29. Attention to financial detail is something many of us avoid, and yet it is without question a reflection of the deep care we have for ourselves, and if we run a company or business, the deep care we also have for our staff.

  30. Isn’t it extraordinary how not living with that respect for everything including the bits we don’t want to see creates a tension in the body. A tension we fight and deny but then, when we are confronted with love and the space,living that love creates in our bodies it simply melts the tension. What you have learnt is a lesson for all of us. Thank you for sharing.

  31. When I view success as something that does not belong to me but for the all then it is impossible to use the fear of success (or failure) as an excuse to not to commit to life and be what many would call successful. Fear of success (or failure) is created as a justification to not take responsibility in my life and this is certainly something to deeply ponder on.

  32. It is pretty amazing how we can avoid taking responsibility and how fracturing that can be – I am a business director, and yes there are still parts of me that want to ‘leave it to others’ – but I quickly find if I am not in there supporting them, and at least having an understanding of what is going on, then things fall apart. It shows that I can never drop my level of responsibility otherwise it is felt by all.

  33. The great learning for life is that when we see every opportunity or situation as a chance to deepen our understanding of ourselves and others equally, we begin to unfold more of our innate expression too and that is very inspiring.

  34. Sometimes we make choices without a full clarity or understanding, what I truly appreciate about what is shared is that no matter what we or another chooses ‘never stop loving them or ourselves for these choices’.
    Understanding this for me is huge as our qualities from with-in and the essence of love who we are is divine, just sometimes it gets a bit muddled when it comes to the surface of our day to day life based on how many layers of protection may be acting as a buffer to the love that is always there. The protection is what makes choices seem difficult or complicated, choices from our essence and the love we are, are simple.

  35. I love that it is never to late to learn from our choices as life will constantly reflect exactly what is needed to open our eyes and provide an opportunity for us to choose differently. Comfort is only an illusion for in truth there is no comfort only the deafening delay that is just taking it’s time to expose the harm it is causing.

  36. Responsibility is a big one, ‘‘I was avoiding leading this company responsibly and spent too much money on keeping up appearances and growth’. Would be great to hear how your new true company is now.

  37. Life offers many opportunities to learn and evolve and it is up to us to grab them with both hands and say yes. A great story, thank you for sharing it.

    1. Spot on Nicole about the opportunities – and this also help us to see life as a series of opportunities that are constantly offered to us in order to grow and evolve, should we choose it. The growth and expansion is happening constantly on a larger scale, and it is pulling us along too, but how much we assist this and align to it versus how much we resist this and pull away from these natural cycles is what determines our quality of growth. This is how opportunities come into play – we can seize them or we can repeat them endlessly. Our choice.

  38. Absolutely massive, sometimes we are so out of control and don’t we don’t wish to open our eyes on truth. This is an incredible story with an incredible turn around.

  39. “Choosing to hide from my responsibility, making myself small, not speaking my truth. I pretended it would all work out fine somehow, without my having to take any action. I talked a lot about what I should do, but in the end I did not do it” – I can very much relate to this and its consequence. Nothing to do with managing a company or bankruptcy, but I can see this in my relationships with others – knowing something is not quite ok, thinking I should address it, but telling myself ‘maybe there’s no need’ because the person is now behaving differently – then goes back to the same pattern, just in a different flavour. So the ‘relationship’ and how I experience it becomes dependent on the others’ mood or behaviour, and my reaction to that. And I see the lack of commitment there – to stay in the comfort of arrangement.

  40. The honesty shared here is an inspiration for the world. Simply beginning to talk about the reality that businesses that are truly about people first will find their way, not to selfishly profit, but to provide services and products that support humanity is worth our attention, as in time a businesses integrity will be felt, and it is this that will determine its success or not.

  41. I know they say ‘a picture speaks a 100 words’. Sometimes the same can be said of a good title – ‘The Bankruptcy of Comfort’. So much said here. Being in comfort creates a stagnancy and stops the flow which leads to the bankruptcy – whether it be material or psychological.

  42. Thank you anonymous for reminding me that when we make it all about “us” that’s when the ” wheels fall off”. Life is about all in everyway, not the glory of one.

  43. This is a great example of what can happen when we bury our heads in the sand, and refuse to deal with life or look at the ugly stuff. Hats off to you for taking this episode in your life to learn and evolve from.

  44. Anon, this is an amazingly honest sharing that stands as a true example that we can all learn from. As they say, there are no ‘mistakes’ as there are only learnings, and so long as we have learned from what happened then there has been a purpose to it all. With the company you have shared, it is beautiful that you have talked about how important people are – it is about people first before finances. There is much for many companies in our world to understand and learn in order to really prioritise what life is about: people!

  45. We can sit in ‘comfort’ and not speak up or act upon those very things that our heartstrings call out for, but in the process our comfort destroys the lives of others. When we put this in such terms, no one would want to stay in the comfort – and yet the reality is that we do, and often it is that there are such subtle ways in which we get caught in the comforts which we think we are enjoying but in reality are rotting ours and our brothers existence. These comforts I am talking about are the ones where we prefer to sit silent when it is needed to speak up, where we play nice instead of lovingly saying how it is, where we step in to donate and do charities instead of feeling where true support is required. There are so many ways we are all still caught in certain comforts and it is a process in exploring this and gradually letting them go so we are free to truly serve as intended.

  46. Wow this blog really says so much about what it really means to be a leader, a business man or woman and a CEO of a company and the responsibility that we have when we are in business.

  47. ‘Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make…’. Super honest, thank you Anonymous.

  48. Having a major stop moment in our life can be seen as very difficult time or as an opportunity to evolve as you have experienced Anonymous, a learning that has allowed you the space and grace to re-build your life with true love and responsibility that will support you to no longer choose comfort or to stay silent ever again.

  49. When we avoid attending to what is needed and linger in apparent comfort, it will bite us in the bum, sooner or later.

  50. This is a big, raw feeling blog… stripping away the glamour and illusion of what looks good and having to feel the reflection that can so often be found in the numbers when we are not living one life, not seeing the whole. I’ve been there with Companies that have gone into liquidation and it is ugly and painful for everyone, but there is also a chance to learn. And then life does not stop, it continues and there are always ongoing opportunities to try again but this time to bring the love.

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