Ramzey Choker: “You will be defined by how you survive”

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Running a successful business is no easy feat – especially when something goes wrong. But knowing how to turn a crisis into a breakthrough is how your leadership and strength really gets tested.

Ramzey Choker is founder of The Grounds of Alexandria. Built in the remnants of a heritage-listed warehouse where a Four’N Twenty pie factory once stood and spilling into a courtyard and garden. Choker choose Alexandria with it’s industrial past and The Grounds has since grown to be one of the city’s most popular spaces since it opened its doors in April 2012 with 15,000 people coming through the door every week.

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing as he went from hitting rock bottom when the 2008 financial crisis hit to becoming a successful creative entrepreneur. He has faced plenty of personal and professional lows.

02-the-potting-shed“Your strength is tested.”

Ramzey says there were times when he had to accept that something wasn’t working in order to move forward.

Here he shares the five important things you should remember when the going gets tough:

#1. It’s not condition, but decisions that determine our lives
Disappointment can drive us, or it can defeat us. Choose to be driven by it. In business, the days in which all the stars don’t align will far outnumber those magic few when they do. And those difficult days are the ones that define you. It’s at those times, that the choices we make will set us apart. Blaming external factors is like blaming the sun for your sunburn. Own it, and act.

“choices we make set us apart.”

#2. It’s in our darkest times that we find our greatest strength
This isn’t just the stuff of boxing redemption movies. Sometimes, seeing the worst of things really does strengthen our resolve. When things are going well, it’s hard to know your limits – where the edges of your mental territory are. But come up against it, and you’ll find reserves you never knew you had. I’ve lost loved ones and had some intensely dark days in my life. Those are the times to measure your true strength, not on the sunny days.

“Don’t shut off emotions. Feel everything!”

mussels-lores-1#3. Embrace your extremes
Guess what – we’re not robots. It’s a fact that literally makes us human. We are more vulnerable than we ever thought, but we are stronger than we ever imagined. Often, especially in business, we don’t want to show the vulnerable side of ourselves – thinking that it can only point to weakness. But it’s at our extremes that we find incredible insights and new opportunities. Don’t shut off those emotions. If you’re passionate about your business, feel everything you can – absorb it and wear it.

Watch the business journey of The Grounds to discover Ramzey’s success tips 

#4. Rock bottom is a perfect springboard
I have learned that when life sucks you under (and believe me, it loves to do that), and you find yourself at the bottom – use that base as a way to kick off from the bottom, break the surface and breathe again. Down there facing the void, you really do have a choice to make – so choose joy and meaning.

“You will be defined by how you survive.”

#5. ‘Crisis’ does not equal ‘bad’
The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days, the times that challenge you to your very core, that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive. And as long as you always remember that you WILL survive, you will learn ten times more from a crisis situation than what an easy day can ever teach you. Your senses are heightened, your pulse is quick and your brain is alert. This is you at your primal best. Make the most of it!

This article was originally published at The Grounds who are celebrating their 5th year in business in 2017.

The Grounds Markets are held in Sydney on Saturday’s and Sunday’s 9am to 3:30pm with 80 different stallholders who alternate weekly. Do you have a great small business focussed on locally made or hand produced goods? Apply to be a stallholder here

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Ramzey Choker
Ramzey Choker is founder and Director of The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney, Australia.

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