Ep420: Jeff Heggie – It’s OK to Choose Failure over Losses

Listen on

Apple | Google | Stitcher | Spotify | YouTube | Other

Quick take

BIO: Jeff Heggie is an entrepreneur and success coach with a passion for helping others achieve their biggest dreams.

STORY: Jeff started a manufacturing business with a former client, and everything was going great until the 2008 financial crisis hit. While it would have been a better idea to close down the business then, Jeff put everything he had, including his house, into the business to try and salvage it. Unfortunately, it never recovered, and they had to finally close it after COVID-19 hit.

LEARNING: Sometimes, it’s better to accept failure instead of getting sucked into the sunk cost fallacy.


“A fixed mindset focuses on specific outcomes, whereas the growth mindset focuses on the process and doing things right.”

Jeff Heggie


Guest profile

Jeff Heggie is an entrepreneur and success coach with a passion for helping others achieve their biggest dreams. As a coach, Jeff starts with a focus on mindset. Taking his client or their business to the next level always begins with the right mindset.

Jeff enjoys using his extensive experience in the banking industry, over twenty years as an entrepreneur, plus his training and experience as a coach to help his clients break through the mental and physical barriers that hold them back

Worst investment ever

Jeff left the banking industry when he saw an opportunity with one of his clients, who turned into an incredible mentor and a great business partner. Together they started a manufacturing company that though it was capital intensive, and did pretty well.

Then the 2008 financial crisis hit, and their world got turned upside down. They came to a point between 2008 and early 2010 where everything they tried to do failed. They should have closed the company, but as the CEO, sitting in a staff meeting with all the team heads, Jeff decided failure was not an option. And so, they invested more to try to save the company.

Jeff took everything he had and even mortgaged his house and put it back into this company. His rationale was that they had already sunk as deep as they could go, now they had to fight their way back and rebuild.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company could barely survive, so they closed down in January 2021. Jeff knew the company was done long before that. But he was too afraid to let it happen. He was too scared to face the reality of what his losses were going to be and to face his shareholders and tell them he had lost everything.

Lessons learned

  • Failure is always an option when trying to achieve success.
  • Sometimes you must accept you’ve failed and try to move on instead of trying to keep pushing a failing business.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Any business can fail. That’s a risk every business owner and shareholder has to accept.
  • If you’re contemplating closing your business, first ask yourself: if knowing what you know now about this business would you start it today? If the answer is no, then you better start closing down. If the answer is yes, then you better start thinking differently and bring your energy to keep going.
  • Get rid of the sunk cost fallacy.

Actionable advice

Failure is an option. But when things get tough, make the right business decisions and don’t act on your emotions.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Jeff’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to get 350 clients and 1,000 athletes to take his High Achievers Mindset Secrets course.

Parting words


“To be great, you’ve got to be able to take the risk. Put yourself out there and know that failure is an option. So keep going because you’re gonna get there.”

Jeff Heggie


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk. But to win big, you've got to reduce it. To join our community just go to my worst investment ever.com and receive these five free benefits first, you get the risk reduction checklists I created. From the lessons I've learned from all my guests. Second, you get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return. Third, you get a 25% discount on all a Stotz Academy courses. Fourth, you get access to our Facebook community to get to know guests and fellow listeners. And finally you get my curated list of the Top 10 podcast episodes out of now. More than 400 fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest, Jeff, Peggy. Jeff, are you ready to rock? I absolutely AM. Thank you. Great to have you on the show. And I want to introduce you to the audience. Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff hagy is an entrepreneur and success coach with a passion for helping others achieve their biggest dreams. As a coach, Jeff starts with a focus on mindset. taking his clients or their business, to the next level always begins with the right mindset. Jeff enjoys using his extensive experience in the banking industry, over 20 years as an entrepreneur, plus his training and experience as a coach to help his clients break through the mental and physical barriers that hold them back. Jeff, take a minute, and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jeff Heggie 01:49
Absolutely, thank you for that. So, you know, I grew up in a family that entrepreneurship and doing your own thing was something that we all wanted to do. And I graduated from college with a major in entrepreneurship. And that was the goal to do something on my own to forge my own path. But right when I graduated, I had a great opportunity to go work at a bank. But I actually turned it down. Because at the time I was also a professional rodeo cowboy and I just wanted to go rodeo and cowboy and so I went and did that ended up going back to the banking industry. And I actually I loved it. I loved the banking industry, I loved the opportunity. I had to work with entrepreneurs and really sit down and learn what they were doing right what they were doing wrong, being able to advise them from a financial standpoint. But at the same time, I still had that entrepreneurial spirit, I started buying some real estate, I bought a mini storage facility, I did a few different things. And then there was an opportunity that came along. And I ended up quitting the bank. And I started a manufacturing company. And it was a manufacturing company that I really didn't know anything about the industry. But I was excited to learn it. And I went about it. And I lived in Canada at the time, I found someone in Missouri to teach me how to do it. And I partnered with an incredible mentor of mine. That was in the homebuilding industry. And we started this company and did some amazing things. throughout that time, I had a lot of opportunity to continue mentoring people and doing things. This company that we started was in is related to the homebuilding industry. And so throughout the years, we've had to pivot a number of times. But my love throughout that time as a leader in a company, you know, helping my employees coach my employees with something I love, but also the mentoring part. And so for the last few years, I focused a lot more on the coaching. And as I did that I got more and more into the coaching. And it's been something that I love, I really love coaching from a business aspect. But I've also been a basketball coach for the last 20 years, 21 years. And so with that, along with that, I've also started working more and more from the mindset aspect because entrepreneurs, athletes, it's all the same. And I actually have a mastermind group that I used to do it from our film room at the school, because as soon as I was done, I had to go coach basketball. And one of my assistant coaches was in my mastermind group and he would tell me, hey, that everything you just taught in that mastermind you need to teach this team. And so that started teaching the team the same things. And so my business coaching also has morphed into I work with a lot of athletes as well. And so it's something I love I'm passionate about and I'm having a lot of fun doing it.

Andrew Stotz 04:46
just reminded me of watching last chance you and I think it was East LA that was the basketball team that was really fun to watch on Netflix, and this led this Netflix series Have you seen it last chance you You haven't, I really recommend it for everybody. I mean, it's a, it's a great series where they follow, you know, basically junior colleges in the US that are feeding either basketball or football at the division one level. And all these young guys that the difference is, is that most of the community colleges and City Colleges, the young guys that are playing are, you know, facing enormous challenges in their lives, you know, whether they failed out, and they couldn't make it into division one because of their grades or whether they had a problem with their family or whatever happened. So it's their last chance and the coaches they're trying to help them to see, you got to keep yourself together to get that scholarship to get into division one, and that the coaches, you know, there's a basketball coach, I think his name is coach Mosley, but I can't I can't remember, I was just looking for that. But he was, he was really great. And the idea, though, is that, you know, just seeing these young guys facing the challenges that they're facing, and overcoming those challenges, you know, in their own way. I mean, it's not, it's not easy, you know, for any of them. Yeah, it's coach john Mosley, and I just loved that episode. It was East LA. And then there's another one on last chance you that's about Laney college, in Oakland, and that's football, and I just happened in the toughest time of my life. I stumbled into Laney college only really to keep myself from having to pay back my student loans. I didn't have any intention of really getting a degree. I just thought I better do that. So I went one semester at Laney College in Oakland. And then it just totally brought me back to the struggles I was facing. But then to see the struggles those guys were facing. So hats off to you for being a coach for young people and providing them in taking what you learn. And that brings up two questions I am. Okay. First question. How did you body survive? being a professional rodeo player did rodeo ride on what is it called cowboy? Yeah. How did you come out of that?

Jeff Heggie 07:08
You know what, um, it's been a number of years since I've done it. And I feel it more now than I did then. It is I was a steer wrestler. That's where you're jumping off a horse onto a steer and the rest of them down. And yeah, I did have a number of injuries. I at one time, had a horse get cut off and flipped and landed on my head and knocked me out and broken bones, different things like that. And yeah, I feel I feel some of the aches and pains today. But you know what it was? It was just part of it. You know, you it wasn't when if it was gonna happen? It was when? And it did? Yep.

Andrew Stotz 07:50
Yeah. I mean, I looked at. I mean, I look at videos of rodeos. This is crazy. So hats off to the crazy ones. Now the question is, I just want you to briefly tell the audience and myself about mindset, like, what is it? Why is it important? And what's maybe some tip that you can give the audience about how we can improve our mindset, or what we need to know about mindset. Before we get into the big question of the day. For sure.

Jeff Heggie 08:22
You know, mindset is such an important thing, and it's a broad topic. But um, you know, I've started this last year, it was something that I was paying a lot more attention to, both on my coaching as in coaching client side, but also with my teams and with my own kids, because they're athletes. And one of the things that I noticed what I really focused on was looking at an growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. And a lot of the things that I've learned is, you know, you're looking at things saying, well, I wish I knew, then what I know now, because, you know, for example, in my basketball coaching, I started, I started coaching my daughter when she was young, and had the opportunity to coach her through to her senior year and help her get recruited to college and everything. And she did some amazing things through that process. But I also, as I started studying this, realize that I instilled a lot of a fixed mindset in her in a lot of ways, where I think she would have been even more successful if I would have taught are more about a growth mindset. And what that is, is a fixed mindset focuses a lot on specific outcomes. You know, you're trying to do specific things, whereas the growth mindset, you're more focused on the process and doing things right. And, you know, with a fixed mindset, you don't achieve something and it's like, I'm a failure, I failed. Whereas a growth mindset, it's like, okay, that didn't work. Let's figure this out. And, and that's when I started realizing that and started studying that that's when I really got intrigued and how I could help my clients and my teams and stuff. And so I've actually I've developed some courses specifically for that, that I've got some that I work with entrepreneurs and some that I work with athletes, specifically to help them develop that mindset to help help them understand how to go through the process, but also improve their own confidence, which in turn improves their abilities. Hmm,

Andrew Stotz 10:31
interesting. I, I never, you know, thought about it that much. But I think the point that you're saying about fixed mindset is, like specific goals like this, why do people do that there's a lot of comfort in that, you know, I'm not going to do all of this, and that, and this and that, I'm just going to do this one thing and get it done. You know, there's times where that's valuable. But, you know, there's also times where that is a real limiting belief, let's say,

Jeff Heggie 10:58
Yes, true. And, and I'm still I'm very much a goal setter, and I'm very at an advocate of that. But it's also, you know, as you're pointing, it's not just saying, okay, here's the goal. And if you don't, if you don't achieve that you're a failure, because it's also the process of how we go about achieving that, and what you learn in the process. Because, I mean, realistically, a lot of times someone will set a goal. And by the time they get to it, they've changed that goal, because what they've learned along the way,

Andrew Stotz 11:33
that's interesting. And, you know, there's a lot of goals that I had that I'm like, it's not such a priority anymore, or it's changed. And now you've just explained part of the reason why is because I'm learning along the way. The other thing, I was just thinking about that growth mindset versus fixed mindset. I was 17 years old, had spent nine months in three different rehabs and left the rehab, clean and sober. And when I was there, I thought to myself, and they asked me, What do you want to do? And I said, I want to be a TV repairman. I had studied electronics a bit in school, I thought I did pretty well with it. I was reasonably good with math. And I thought, and I saw a guy that I knew, who is, you know, like a repairman. And he had a nice little house and a nice little life. And if I think about my fixed mindset, that goal, really satisfied that fixed mindset. But what I didn't realize is that I was going to be entering on a journey of life, that just took me from one place to the next to the next to the next until at the age of 26. I landed in Thailand, and build a life and a career here now for 30 years. And nobody could have ever predicted when I was 17. And they asked me, What do you want to do, that I wasn't going to be fixing TVs? And my fixed mindset was actually so limiting. And I say to young people, you'll never be able to see where you could go with a growth mindset. Absolutely, you'll be, you'll be amazed when you get the right story. Well, I appreciate it. And I've learned a lot from you already thinking about it, you've got me thinking I've taken some notes on that. I know the audience also is thinking about it. So I appreciate that. But now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to then tell us your story.

Jeff Heggie 13:36
Absolutely. So as I said, I was in the banking industry. And I saw an opportunity with actually it was with one of my clients who turned into an incredible mentor for me and a great business partner. And I left the banking industry to start this manufacturing company. And we had big plans. It was capital intensive. It took a lot of investment to do it. And we had, I mean, I was ready to retire in three years is what I could proceed. But, you know, it was a really steep learning curve. And it was tough. But we made the investment we did it. And it actually was tougher than I expected. But it was awesome. I learned so much. And the company was just growing and doing great things. And then 2008 hits. And we had grown to a great size within Canada in the United States and we're doing some amazing things. But we're tied to the homebuilding industry. And when 2008 hits it was our world got turned upside down.


Jeff Heggie 14:53
up to that point, that wasn't my worst investment that was still a good investment. We created a great company, we did some great things. And we were doing great things were my worst investment was, is we came to a point between probably 2008 and early 2010. Where everything that happened in the market, we essentially failed. And the company should have been done. But, you know, you can advise people on how to take failure how to deal with all that, which is what I do for a living now. But it's different when it's yourself. It's different when you know, each investor personally, it's different when you're related to half the investors. And I remember, as the CEO of the company, sitting in a staff meeting with all the head heads of everyone on the team, saying failure is not an option. And so at that time, what we had to do is we had to bring more investment, I had to invest more I mortgaged my house, I did, took everything I had, and put back into this company, saying, We've already sunk as deep as we can go, now we've got to fight our way back and then rebuild. My worst investment was that we had failed, it should have been done. And, you know, I wish I could say, I made this great decision that we were going to grind it out and take in more investment and invest all my own stuff, and we were going to succeed. We never had it easy. Since that time, every time things started going well, you know, we had a focus in the Alberta market and fall of 2016, we're at our very best we had ever been thinking we'd go into the spring, just rocking, and oil crashes. And you know, our Calgary market disappears over the winter. And then there was another time that I created a partnership that we could make another big expansion into the US. And there are some things on their side that made that all fall apart. And it was never since things crashed in. Oh, 809. And we just kept putting more and more money into it. And we never, we never did recover. And to the point where COVID hit. And it ended us.

Andrew Stotz 17:35
It was a knockout blow. It was. So tell me, what did you learn? What lessons did you learn from this? failure is always an option. That is such a strange thing to say, you know, we're not brought up to say that.

Jeff Heggie 17:56
Yeah, and it's easy to tell someone that it's not easy when it's yourself. It's a lot different when it's yourself. It's something that, you know, I look at it, that was 16 years of my life, that it was my life, my family's life, everything we owned all our money, investments, everything were tied into this company. And you know, I can say it was January 2021, we shut down. I knew it was done long before that. But I was too afraid to let it happen. I was too afraid to face the reality of what my losses were going to be. I was too afraid to face my shareholders and tell them I lost everything.

Andrew Stotz 18:48
And what as you look at that fear now, what was the fear if you went to them and told them that? What was it

you were afraid of?

Jeff Heggie 18:58
You know, and the reality is, we did as, as the people in the company, we did everything we could to build a great company. And everything that took us down was out of our control. But my fear was that investors. I mean, obviously I had my own fears. I didn't want to lose all my own money. Yep. But from investors and stuff like that, my fear was that they invested in me, not my company. I mean, obviously investors when they look at an investment, they're looking at it, what they're investing in, but to me, that's where I had the fears is

Andrew Stotz 19:39
what were they going to think of you if you did it? What was your worst case of what you thought they were going to think of you if you said we got to stop?

Jeff Heggie 19:49
Yeah, and that's exactly what it was. It's what are they? Are they gonna think I cheated them? Are they gonna think I was dishonest? I mean, I never did anything within that company that was cheating or dishonor. But are they gonna think that? I mean, I look at looking at it now I know, they know what happened in the economy and everything. But to me, it was like, it wasn't that company, I lost my money in that company. It was I lost my money and Jeff.

Andrew Stotz 20:17
Yep. So let me share a few things that I take away from it. I've taken some notes. Um, you know, I go back to my own business, one of my businesses, the coffee works that I have with my best friend Dale, and after the 97 crisis, in Thailand, it was a disaster. And we ended up having to live in our factory and try to scrape through that I lost my job as an analyst at you know, making tons of money. And it was just a great time for an analyst and I lost all of that. And I didn't feel like I was gonna get it back. Because things look so dire. And then I think that we had to Dale at times, was really depressed, I was depressed. One of the things I said to Dale, and I think this is an important lesson from this, that I want all the listeners to hear is that, you know, as long as you didn't cheat, or steal, or do some kind of fraud, tough shit, I say to the investors, you have you know, what you're doing with your money, you're responsible for your money, you put your money in, I didn't defraud you, I didn't mislead you, you put it in and the business failed, you know, that any business can fail. That's the risk. And this was a startup business in another country. You know, and we never run a business before, if you are not smart enough to figure that out. And we, as long as we told you what we were doing, then I'm told there, you can walk away, and we can all closes down and nobody's going to study the lesson really is this idea of failure is an option. And so that's the first thing I think the other thing that you have to think about, too, is that I like the idea of kind of Zero Based Thinking where you asked the question, if knowing what I know now, about this business? Would I start this business today? And if the answer is no, then you better start closing down? If the answer is yes, then you better start thinking differently and really bring your energy. And this question works with relationships with everything. If I wasn't in this relationship now, and this person walked up to me, and I had a chance to start this relationship, knowing what I know about this person now, when I started, and I always ask this question, I tell people, it's just yes or no, just tell me yes or no. You know, and it's a great way to focus the mind and get rid of the sunk cost fallacy that I've put so much time and money into it. So those are some of the things that I take away. Is there anything else you would add to that?

Jeff Heggie 23:08
Yeah, no, I just want to add to that, because that, you know, I look back to that, in hindsight. If, if in 2008, nine, that area, we just shut things down, and then took the exact same money that we reinvested and did it in something else, we probably could have paid everyone back. But no, we just kept pouring money into it. And so yeah, that's, that's a great way to look at it.

Andrew Stotz 23:31
Mm hmm. So based upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the fate the same fate? And I want you to think about that young man or woman right now who's listening? Who is in the middle of it?

Jeff Heggie 23:50
You know, I think what I look at is, as I said earlier, failure is an option. But when things get tough, make the right business decisions don't make the emotional decisions.

Andrew Stotz 24:06
Great, great advice. Great advice. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Jeff Heggie 24:12
My number one goal. You know, I've got my personal clients that I work one on one, I've got some different courses and stuff. But my number one goal right now with my I've got a course called high achievers, mindset secrets. And I, as I said, I've got some of it that's focused on entrepreneurs, some that's focused on athletes. And on the entrepreneurial course. I've got a goal of in the remainder of this year, another 350 clients going through that on the athletic side with the team aspect of it what I do, I've got a goal of 1000 athletes going through that course. And I know those are all people that I can make a major impact on their lives and help them and especially on the athletes, because like I said, Earlier, you know, you look at sports, it's such a reflection of life. And when you can help young athletes develop the powerful mindset, it goes way beyond athletics. And if you can do that at a young age, they're gonna do amazing things throughout their lives.

Andrew Stotz 25:16
Wow, exciting. And for the listeners that would like to get into those programs, what's the best way to contact you?

Jeff Heggie 25:24
Absolutely. Thank you. My website is Jeff hagy.com. So JFFHEGG, calm and everything's on there. But specifically mindset courses. It's mindset, dot Jeff Hager calm. And another one, you know, I mentioned that I'm an advocate of goal setting. I am an advocate of doing it in the right way and understanding why you're doing it. And I have a free course as well that I offer that is on that. And you can get that it's I called my momentum series. It's Jeff hagy.com, slash momentum.

Andrew Stotz 25:59
Great. We'll have all of those in the show notes, ladies and gentlemen. So go check them out. And let's continue to learn from Jeff. All right, listeners, there you have it, another story of loss, to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener, reduce risk and increase return in your life. To achieve this, I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com. And I look forward to seeing you all there. As we conclude, Jeff, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status, for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Jeff Heggie 26:43
No, I want to I want to thank you for the opportunity not only to share this, but to really have an opportunity to talk about it with you and share your ideas as well. Thank you, you know, and, you know, for the audience. To be great. You've got to be able to take the risk. You've got to be able to put yourself out there and know that failure is an option and be able to accept that. But just like a baby learning to walk, when a baby falls down, they get back up and they try again. So keep going because you're gonna get there.

Andrew Stotz 27:17
Beautiful, and that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


Connect with Jeff Heggie

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz:

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

Leave a Comment