Learning Lessons From My FTC Case

I wanted to take a moment and share some of the biggest lessons I learned from this period of my life.

The reasons I’m sharing this is two-fold.

Part of it is therapy to release some of the emotions that are attached to this experience so I can move forward to serve others.

Also, I wanted to share these lessons that I’ve learned so other growing entrepreneurs (or really anyone who’s had challenges or made mistakes) can avoid them, or to at least have a healthy outlook during the challenges they will face during their journey.

Here are my lessons:

Five Areas of Business – Make Sure They’re All Covered 

To start with, there are five areas to running a successful business:

  1. Marketing
  2. Sales
  3. Operation
  4. Accounting
  5. Compliance

As an entrepreneur, you might be good at one or a few of these things. However, very few excel in all five areas. For example, the issue that led to me learning this lesson stemmed from compliance.

So, one of my lessons I learned was it doesn’t matter how good you are at sales, or marketing, or any or a few of these areas, make sure to hire experts to cover your weaknesses. A strong company is one that excels at all five. That’s what leads to building a long-term sustainable company. It’s important to have people cover your weaknesses, because all five of these areas need to be covered by someone that knows what they are doing if you want to last for the long haul.

Responsibility – What Was My Role? 

One of my biggest insights during this time came from a friend who said, “You know when you’ve taken 100% personal responsibility for your life when you no longer have any villains in any of the stories you share.” In short, you are both the hero and the villain in your own life.

It’s very easy to look back on this journey and to blame a lot of different things other than me. The biggest lesson was for me to look back and ask what role I played in my failures? Also, is there a pattern of getting in my own way, and can I break the cycle so I can keep it from happening again?

Developing a Life Philosophy  

One of the biggest shifts I made when deciding to take responsibility was to develop a life philosophy that would act as a compass when I’m making decisions. I got it from Pete Carroll former coach of USC football, and after facing many challenges, went on to win the Super Bowl as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. When asked what led to his incredible comeback story, he said, “I developed a life philosophy, and it’s my guiding compass when making decisions so I can make sure I’m heading in the right direction towards my values.”

For my journey, I decided to incorporate my one life philosophy. Above all else, bring value to others and do no harm.  My journey moving forward will be one that brings value no matter what I do.  Be it in business, be it my relationships, be it in making a positive impact in the world.  As Buddha used to say, “I will always leave the place I experience better than I found it.”


With that in mind, I had to learn to forgive myself for mistakes I made and any harm I’ve caused others.  While I understand I have brought value to a lot of lives, there were also people who got hurt. I ask those who were hurt for their forgiveness. I didn’t ask for forgiveness so I would feel better.  I did it so they would let go of pain and heal, and to be able to serve others in their lives.

The Lessons Learned Through Failure  

In my mind, holding onto any guilt and condemnation that I have for myself means that I miss the opportunity to learn from my failures. I know that I’m human, and to be human is to be flawed. The only true failures in life are ones where the lesson is lost, and along with it the opportunity to learn and inspire others. Hence my purpose for writing this today!

Believe Everything in Life is Happening FOR Us, Not TO Us 

It’s easy to look at a moment or a year and see it as an unpassable barrier that you have no control over. If you’ve faced litigation like I have you know its one of the most highly pressured and challenging times in your life. When time stops, and everything you’ve worked for disappears, you get an opportunity to prioritize who and what you really care about.

So, while going thru this challenging journey, it was easy for me to think all hope is lost and all that I had worked on was gone forever.

However, during that moment I had an epiphany. What if everything that was happening was working for me, not against me? What would be the lessons for me to get?

While my journey was challenging, it’s was also one the most insightful times in my life. I decided that while it might not be clear for another 3-5 years from now when I look back, I believe God can see with much higher vision than I can, and I need to surrender and do what I can to provide value to those lives who come before me.

My advice to you is, when dealing with challenges, realize that 3-5 years from now it might be a tiny speck in your life. Figure out the lessons to be learned and be present thru the journey. That way you’ll be more self-aware and have the realization that nothing is permanent.

Letting Go of the Ego 

Part of that surrender for me is to let go of my ego.  I always thought having an ego is good, as long as it serves the masses.  However, I’ve discovered that it’s better to serve and surrender, and while I can still have a plan, be open to what life brings forth.

As John Lennon said, “Life is what’s happening while you’re busy making plans.” Having humility, being objective to see if I’m bringing value, and only moving forward when led by higher energy, has given me peace and eradicated my belief that I need to be in control.   I can reach the outcome I want, but how it happens might not be the way I had planned.

Start with Gratitude  

I want to thank all those who took the time to reach out and offer their wisdom, prayers, and love. That feeling of support and love was incredible, and I honestly don’t have the words to describe how grateful I am. Perspective can be painful, and when you go thru adversity, it teaches you to put life into perspective, and see all the people and things in your life you already have and are grateful for. I ask that if you ever see someone who’s lost hope, and you have something to give, please share. At least until they get to a place where they can lend that same hope to others who may need it.

Moving Forward  

I wanted to share these feelings to give you a glimpse of how this experience has served me. I wanted you to see that if you’re dealing with major challenges, realize you’re not alone.  Be it litigation, a job loss, a loss of family or friend, we all deal with adversities during our journey.

The key is to see what challenge and adversity for what they really are, just another event in your life. You can either go through it unconsciously, or you can become aware of it and learn so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

For me, it took a lot of mistakes to learn lessons.  However, because of it I’ve learned to be vulnerable and share, rather than hiding my feelings or lessons like I did before when I thought I could handle it because it really doesn’t serve me or others. I don’t create value in anything when I hold everything inside. The transformation is generated by both me and others when I share.

If any of these lessons served you, or if you have your own experience to share to inspire others, feel free to comment below.

My goal is to spread wisdom, positivity, and love here. We’re all connected, so please share your story or feedback below so we can all work together to create a positive impact on the world!

With love,

Alex Dee