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Profiting From Failure

The Final Word


The Final Word

Life is short and we never really know when it’s going to be done.  Something recently happened in my life to give me another big wake up call and reminder about making the most of each given day.

I had gone to the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce to give a workshop on email marketing and as has been my experience with this particular chamber the audience was very interactive and ready to learn.

In this particular workshop there was one gentleman who stood out from the rest even from the moment I walked in the door. His name was John Carrigan and he was the first one there - having arrived 20 minutes early. Throughout the workshop he was fully engaged and asked many questions.



Flip the Script

We once again have amazingly arrived at the week which here in the U.S. we stop and say thanks for all we have been given.

With that in mind, I thought I would write a quick note this morning about having gratitude in what goes wrong. Eventually… when we open ourselves up to it… what goes wrong will always lead to something even more right. 

Not so long ago I saw a meme online that said, “When something goes wrong in your life simply yell… plot twist!”  I love that idea because it helps us to ride into the curves so much more gracefully, instead of fighting it every step of the way :) 



Changing Beats

It’s probably pretty safe to say that we have all had our hearts broken at one time or another along our way.  From a love that was short lived, to watching the shattering of a family - as I did when parents divorced when I was just 10 - to saying the excruciating eternal goodbye to someone you love as they pass away. 

This month we have been talking about the pitfalls along our journey that can leave us to stop and question everything. Heartbreak sure is one of those falls. It is how we eventually deal with such pain that determines the quality of our lives as well the lives of those who are traveling with us. 



Perfect Conditions

bringing forth what is within you is mostly about creating the right conditions

The most important of life’s challenges happen outside of the boardroom. They usually happen within us, starting as a tiny morsel of an idea that soon becomes a long-term dream aching to come to life. 

For this week’s letter I want to tell you about a very special challenge and accomplishment that was recently achieved by my sister, Robi, (known to many as Robyn) who has been a special light in my life since I was two years old.

My baby sister had picked this big huge scary goal to run a marathon.  It had become even scarier to her as she had tried to run the Chicago Marathon a number of years ago and 6 miles in… her body shut down.  Months and months of training brought with it many lessons learned on how she might have better prepared.

Not long after this turn of events she began to have some serious foot issues, which included surgery and being told by her foot doctor that her running days were over. He told her the conditions wouldn’t be right for her to ever run again.

She gave in to her “fate” for a few years, but eventually,she naturally found herself drawn to running again. To her delight, this time around she found her feet were in fact ready for the tremendous challenge of accomplishing her dream. 

During Thanksgiving dinner last year, Robi first spoke out loud about the growing idea inside of her to actually go out there and run the New York City Marathon in 2015.

The first barrier she had was getting a bib. There was first a lottery application process allowing in only 18,000 of the 50,000 runners.  She made the decision over the holidays that if she could get a bib, she would commit to doing it! On March 3rd of this year the email arrived, “Get Your New York On – Congratulations.” She was in!! 

The months and months of earnest training began. She was fortunate enough though to find a team of women who really gave her so much strength and courage. Together they each trained for different marathons they were running.

On Sunday November 1st after traveling by plane, cab, ferry, bus, and foot, she found herself at the starting gate of the biggest running event in the country and one of the most exciting moments of her life. A moment that she got to share with 50,000 other excited runners.  She said it was a pretty incredible moment to be sure. As with any special moments in our lives, her head and heart were filled with that special blend of fear and complete joy all in the same time. 

robyn balsley nyc marathon

I have to tell you from my perspective here in Colorado I was so excited for her!  However, I didn’t realize fully how much emotion I had until the moment I turned on the special NYC Marathon app on my phone to see her race progress. 

Seeing her little “RB icon” moving mile after mile at a wonderful pace was a combination of pride and feeling helpless to not be able help her in any way other then send her good vibes.

Over a breakfast debrief she and I had late last week upon her arrival back in Colorado, she shared so many inspiring details to me. The cream that really rose to the top for her was the massive amount of support she received from so many. 

The outreach from those who cared about her - from social media love, to people she met during the 3 hours before the race, to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that lined the route to cheer the runners on. She said it was simply amazing and filled her heart to take every step of those 26.2 miles. 

With 6 miles to go before the finish line, she ached in every fiber of her body. But she was determined to finish the marathon, and did so in 5 hours, 1 minute, and 57 seconds. Her goal was achieved! To add to the whole awesomeness of the situation, she raised $4,200 in the process for the charity Hope House

Over our breakfast she shared with me how she had chosen to thank her husband Bill, daughter Katie, and son Jack for their amazing support.  The morning before they left for the airport to head to NYC she gave them each a card with a gift to thank them.

In the cards she shared with each of them these three elements that gave her the fuel for her fire… 

1) Dream big, anything is possible.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

2) Enjoy the moments in life.
“It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it’s the journey that matters in the end”

3) Never lose sight of the strength of our family.
“The only way to get better is to surround yourself with people who believe in you”

So with those wise words of my dear sister I will wish you in the week ahead to look towards your dreams, enjoy the journey getting there, and surround yourself with people who believe in you all along the way. In doing so, you will find the perfect conditions to do what you need to do. 

I would love to hear a special “marathon” that you have achieved for yourself in the comment section below. Here’s to making it happen! 

To Your Successes and Victories, 
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles





Transformational Light

faith sees best in the dark

Today as I write this the daylight hours have just become much shorter and the darkness of the season has increased. Over the course of the months ahead, there will be many changes and challenges we face in our patterns of feeling, thinking, and doing.   

We know the days will not only get shorter, they will in fact get colder as well. Our faith will need to hold onto the distant reality that spring will once again be upon us.  The light will return when fall turns to winter and winter turns to spring. 

Fall is a great time of year to turn inwards and see what other elements of our lives we can explore. Without the distraction of a beautiful and warm summer day outside, our attention goes to indoor activities that raise our awareness and mindfulness. Or perhaps for those of you who love to ski and enjoy the variety of winter outdoor activities, now is a time of new beginnings and adventures to be made. 

Just as the mystical power of the moon takes a dark night and transforms it with it’s radiant light, so can our embracing of change and the season ahead of us. 

Let’s face it: as long as we are still breathing, life comes straight at us each and every day. What we do with the unknown ups and the downs that will unfold before us during these coming months allows us to determine what our greatest work is to be done. 

As we begin to dive into our Master Mind Principle of Profiting from Failure here in the Victory Circles for November, we come to a fork in the road. You can take path A and continue to beat yourself up for past events and dive deeper into the darkness, or you can take path B.  Path B is more about the transformation form the darkness by learning from the unplanned life events and letting your unique light shine.

What was a special "aha" that brought you from your deepest darkness? After a big fall and life not going as planned, can you remember that burst of clarity which allowed you to see like you hadn’t seen before?

Although it was a rocky road, there was a lesson you allowed yourself to learn. By learning from the mistakes, you become able to regain the faith to carry on much stronger than before.  That moment when you realized the misstep actually being the right step. 

Whether it’s dealing with the death of someone we love, an unattainable goal just out of reach, or a business endeavor that did not turn out as we had planned, challenges will appear. Our choice every morning is to open our eyes and shine our light with the faith, joy, and determination that “spring” will appear once again. 

If you have a story of transformational light, I would love to have you share your story in the comments section below. You never know who could be deeply impacted by the thoughts you share.

Keep an eye out for more goodies headed your way this month - including a special free webinar I am hosting on November 18th on this very topic of the Master Mind Principle of Profiting from Failure. Share an hour with me as we look at how to take life’s challenges in both our personal and business lives and have them become the important turning points that give you the light to see in the dark.

As you head out into your day, week, and month ahead, remember to pay close attention to the things that matter most to you right now. Ask yourself that ever burning question, “What am I supposed to do right now in this moment with what I have been given?” Then get on with the enjoyment of your journey!   

Until next week, keep your hopes and dreams headed towards the light.

To Your Successes and Victories, 
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles




Vulnerable Growth

out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength

The word growth has been on my mind all week in one form or another. And when I saw this quote from Sigmund Freud, my thoughts further evolved into the idea of those things that scare us the most and make us most vulnerable. And then, usually, for the most part, bring us our greatest rewards. 

All this month we have been talking about the Master Mind Principle of Profiting from Failure, which I will wrap up in today's letter. 

Would you agree that without growth in some form or another you can in fact become complacent whether in your personal life - or even more critically - in your business life?

Stop and think about the last time you had a spurt of growth that transformed you. And while you do that I want to share with you a short story of the artichoke flower I am sharing as the picture of the day today.

I have loved artichokes since I was about 6 years old. Not a big vegetable lover as a kid, my mom would make artichokes for dinner. My siblings and I would stare at them as if they were creatures from the Black Lagoon. That is until one day my best friend Nancy came over for dinner as my mother served artichokes.

Well to my surprise and amazement, Nancy started chowing down on the artichokes and not for the purpose of being polite - she was actually thoroughly enjoying them. As any friend would do, she insisted that I actually try just one leaf of the artichoke. So I got very vulnerable for the sake of my dear friend, and found it actually pretty tasty especially with the cheese sauce my mother served with it. 

From that vulnerable moment, I forever became an artichoke lover! 

Over the last few years I have grown an artichoke plant in my garden because the leaves are beautifully ornate and I like the challenge of growing an artichoke in our short growing season here in Colorado.

I have always wanted to see an artichoke flower in this harsh climate and this year I finally felt like it would be the year to see the rare flower.

As the gardening season waned and September grew into October, we had a few frosts. I protected the artichoke plant along with my tomato plants that were in the same bed. Two weeks ago, today, I woke up to frantically knowing I had to cut down the remainder of my garden crop because a nasty winter storm was headed our way by early afternoon. And this was not just any storm, it was promised to be one that would bring us sub zero temperatures (which it did!) and officially end the gardening season - and the season of Fall for that matter. 

Running around the garden, I was scooping up the rest of what remained of the flowers, herbs, and veggies. Cutting down the roses and perennials and throwing compost everywhere to save these plants which normally can survive the winter. However, because of the extreme change from 70 degrees to sub zero (it actually got down of about -12 over that week) I knew that some of them could possibly be permanently destroyed. 

I came upon the artichoke plant, which I resisted the temptation to harvest and eat a few weeks prior, was so close to flowering.... though for whatever reason this season it had not. I came up to it again and again as I worked putting everything else "to bed" as I like to call it. Finally I had that vulnerable moment where I knew that it was time to cut the artichoke down. I brought it in the house wishing I had only a few more days of sun. It was so close! 

As the storm came and brought all the predicted cold and snow to the outdoors, I woke up thinking that I would have to wait another year to see the elusive artichoke flower. With my morning cup of coffee in hand, I glanced at the artichoke and was extremely surprised that the flower had begun to bloom in the bowl of water it was in!!!

Over the next few days, my artichoke flower grew into a gorgeous purple flower that is still sitting on our kitchen counter today - bringing me great joy with it's growth! And serves as a reminder of the extreme beauty and growth that comes from being vulnerable.

This Thursday, I have the extreme honor of sitting at my best friend Nancy's table for Thanksgiving dinner in Southern California. I feel blessed to have had her friendship all these years and the growth that has come from being her friend. Hmmm... I wonder if she will serve artichokes! ;)

As you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with those around the table who you are thankful for, remember that showing your vulnerability and authenticity will trigger those around you to be more vulnerable and authentic as well.

Here's to the gratitude of the season. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of your world. Thank you for being a part of mine! I wish you all the best with the growth and the strength that comes from making yourself vulnerable. 


To Your Successes and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 

and Founder of the Victory Circles



Worry Free

you are that which you are seeking

What if you spent more time focused on success as opposed to the time you might be spending worried that you will not get there - for one reason or another. 

I loved something I read this past week during my morning meditation practice. It was words from Mark Nepo’s book, The Book of Awakening, which I have been reading first thing each morning for the past 6 plus months.  Doing so has allowed me to remain quiet each morning before letting my mind go in the million different directions it seems to take me each day. 

During this particular reading he asked, with eyes closed to envision one aspect of the current world around you that fells confining.  And then, rather than focusing on the people or circumstances involved (you know... the story), try to feel this confinement as the threshold or doorway of your next growth path.

It’s similar to the famous quote by Anais Nin who said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

There are those aspects of our lives as we have been discussing here this month that keep us tight in the bud, not allowing our true inner voice or self to be heard.

Why?  As I have observed, it can stem from the fear and ultimate worry that we will make a mistake.  Freezing us in our tracks and keeping us tight in that bud unable to fully bloom.  When in fact, as we hold this thought pattern too long, it actually keeps us from our true path.  I have experienced this in my own life and have watched it unfold with my clients as well. 

Think of those people you may know who work for years in jobs they hate or in running a business that is not giving them any sense of joy.   The joy was perhaps lost after the initial newness of the business or job dissipated.  Sometimes it’s money driven, and sometimes its worry over making any kind of move because of previous mistakes made along the way. 

So many stories are out there of people whose greatest accomplishments came when they threw caution to the wind and risked the possibility of becoming their true self, of doing the work each day that filled their souls.  I know this to be true because I see it all the time.  And I am happy to report that it happened for me as well. 

And does this mean one morning you wake up and the sun is shining brighter and a choir of angels start to sing?  Not so much as it is taking one step in front of the other  to gradually as you begin to feel your attitude and mindset change.

First required action is to believe  (triple underline this one) that you are actually on the right path no matter how bumpy it gets along the way...and it will get bumpy.

Find people who support your vision of what your path should be ... not the path they think it should be.  Stay far away from the naysayers...

Cut down on your consumption of commercial TV and most definitely the “News”.  And for those of you who believe that the news is a necessary evil.  Try not watching it for one week and the amazing thing you will discover is that you can have a much more productive and happy life. 

The main reason removing yourself from the news is so beneficial is that you stop worrying about other peoples problems and situations.  As you step away from the TV News (designed to create ratings) ask that burning question... Is there really anything I can do about this anyway? 

Bobby McFarland probably sang it best... “Don’t Worry be Happy”.  Happiness, the ultimate goal we all uniquely share when we lay our heads down at night.

As your week begins write down your current worries and then underneath them what you can do right now today to make the change to pull you towards that happiness that comes from being worry free. 

Have a fantastic week ahead!

- Cheri  


Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 

and Founder of the Victory Circles



Beyond Defeat

in the time of darkest defeat

Last week's Victory Letter really hit a nerve with quite a few readers. And I have come to the conclusion that hitting a nerve is a good thing because it can help us to stop in our tracks and take our own pulse. ;)

Today's picture is one I really love and happy to say one that I took while in San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley weekend before last. While it looks more like something out of the Wizard of Oz - it was actually the view from my hotel window looking towards Oracle's offices in the background.

The reason for my trip was to visit with and see the workings of a spin cycling fund raising event geared towards finding the cure, reliable treatments and better diagnosis for ovarian cancer. The event was hosted by, The Be the Difference Foundation and is called Wheel to Survive.

What inspired me most about this event, and wanting to host one here in Boulder in 2015, are the amazing women involved that have indeed themselves been battling ovarian cancer. I am inspired how their cancer diagnosis and the loss of others they have known to the disease have not left these courageous women defeated. To the contrary, it has energized them to get out there and fight to save more lives from this disease, the disease that also took my mother's life.

Defeat, which of course comes in all shapes and sizes, and according to one definition in the dictionary is, "fact of losing to opponent." The reality is that too many of us can give in to an initial loss too quickly.   Bottom-line when you look a perceived defeat face on is that it is not over until you decide it's over.   And yes an opponent such as cancer may have the upper arm - but giving up without any fight whatsoever is the worse way to lose that battle.  


So today I want to share with you five key elements to get past a perceived defeat no matter where you may currently be with it in your life. It could in fact just be a major turning point in your life that you need to pay close attention to so you can get to the next phase.

1. Get the pity party done and over with...

Yes, we usually need to feel the loss in order to move past it. So feel sorry for yourself, cry, get mad, yell, and maybe have your best buds commiserate with you a bit.   Lick your wounds... then get on with it without sitting on the defeat too long and get fully back in the game.

2.  Learn to Forgive...

First forgive yourself, and then the person or life event that caused the defeat. Forgiveness allows you move from the past, get into the present and get excited again about the future.


3. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off...

Sometimes the fall from defeat can be a brutal one - as mentioned in #1 be sure after the pity party to fully dust off the negativity that may be a result of the event and really make sure you have learned from the loss.


4.  Get fully back in the Saddle...

Don't come back into the game limping or carrying your baggage. Fully climb in the saddle of your life with your head held high ready for the next round. Ready for a great ride to the best of your capacity.


5.  Remember better late than never

Because defeats come in all sizes and situation, similar to today's Victory Letter, which is late in coming to you because of the chain of events brought in my path this morning. I could have cried defeat and said no Victory Letter today.

However, I am committed and knew that would not have served me, or you. Sometimes timing is just off, life gets in the way - it doesn't mean defeat - unless you let it.

Think of those marathon runners who have limped across the finish line long after the crowds had dispersed. Be good in knowing that its okay even if the only glory is in knowing you have achieved what you wanted to achieve for you and no one else.

As you head into this next week of your life think of the muscles you have built along the way because of the defeats you have experienced. And if you are coming fresh out of a defeat of one kind or another go back through steps one through five and figure out what element might be missing for you to move on to your next win.

Wishing you the light that comes after the storms!  

To Your Successes and Victories!

- Cheri 


Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 

and Founder of the Victory Circles



Perfect Light

there is a crack in everything

What would you do differently if you weren’t expecting complete perfection as the result of achieving your deepest desires?   What if you weren’t afraid of “failing” in the process of making your desired business/life a reality?

Procrastination is a built from a defense mechanism that is designed to keep us safe. When we overindulge ourselves in procrastination we actually allow ourselves to put critical and stressful parts of our life on hold for another day, week, month or even year(s).

The month of November has arrived, and here in the Victory Circles we are focusing on the Master Mind Principle of Profiting from Failure. I hear some people say, “How could a failure bring me any kind of profit?” when we talk about this principle.

During a recent flight delay in NYC last week, I found myself having a little extra time to do some book shopping at the airport. The book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown found it’s way to me. I highly recommend it, as I spent the plane ride home reading it from cover to cover.

She shared in the book today’s quote from Leonard Cohen, which are lyrics from his song Anthem. The words she wrote were about living an authentic life, and it got me thinking about the authentic lives we live – or sometimes lack thereof. In my opinion, an authentic life is not just living up to others expectations but actually including your own unique voice and thoughts into a vision that deeply amplifies your greatest passions.  

So many people talk about starting a business, yet they don’t have the courage or the clear vision to complete the required steps. I also see people start a business and never get past the fear of failure – therefore never fully giving it all that they truly could.

Many dreams can be lost through the syndrome of having one foot in the business and the other foot out looking for the “back-up” job. That is where a coach can come in and help you see the forest through the trees.

What I know to be true after nearly 30 years of being an entrepreneur – success comes with how we carry ourselves forward. It’s not just about working harder and therefore expecting good results. Results will only come when you work smarter , and not harder. By allowing the cracks of your vision to show you can stop to see what areas let out the light and what areas do not. The challenge shapes the final end result. 

As we head into the month of November, I ask you a question of self-reflection:

What have you possibly been looking at for too long and need to move on and through to get the desired results you need?

We all have something that is really stopping our internal gears, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to avoid a head-on collision with failure. But this collision will show what caused the accident, and provide a much greater solution to the current problem.

For me personally, if I had never had the courage to push forward after my bankruptcy in 2001 I would have never started writing the Victory Letters and had such success in helping other entrepreneurs climb to new heights and achievements in their own business.

If you are having trouble finding those cracks in your vision, look to your past to see if there was indeed a failure of one kind or another that perhaps activated your procrastinator out of a deep fear of rejection, hurt, or failure. Then, look towards ways of embracing this fear and learning the lessons it has taught you.

What I find so incredible about the opportunities of this life is when we let the cracks fully let our inner light shine from the inside-out, the results bring great joy. By showing your cracks and learning from them, not only have you achieved something great within your own inner dialogue, but you have conquered your procrastinating scripts and allowed your vision to take you exactly where you dream.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill on profiting from failure: “The urge to continue was stronger then the desire to quit.”


To Your Successes and Victories,  

- Cheri


Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles