The failures of success

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” – Shauna Niequist

How easy it is to be grateful for success and bitter about failure. Rarely, when we succeed, do we examine the path we took to success. Its to easy to simply chalk it up to luck, or smarts, or “I was owed one”. The path to success is typically littered with failure, but we don’t count those attempts, those actions as failures once we succeed. Why is that?

A medium time ago I was making sales call on a very successful businessman in my community. We had a good relationship, always cordial and respectful but for five years he never bought anything I was selling. At some point it simply became a game for me. I never took his “no’s” personally but for whatever reason I kept going back presenting him with new thoughts and new ideas to say “no” too. Then one day, I had completed my presentation, made my “pitch” and started packing-up my briefcase. There was no reason to pull out the order form given our past history. As I stood-up to shake his hand and make my way out of his office, he looked at me and said “yes”. In my confusion, I said “yes what”. He said, “yes I want to buy it, write it up”. I was stunned, but very grateful. This sale came at a time when I really needed the commission. We had one baby, one on the way and a new house we were closing on in two weeks. After multiple “failures” I had gotten lucky, at least that’s what my sales manager thought, and this man bought something from me….success!

Several years later, after I had started my own business, I ran into him at a party. I shared my story about all the times I had tried and failed to sale him what I was peddling at the time. I talked about how frustrated I was at first and then turned it into a game. A game I took very seriously, but one I never expected to succeed at.

I was surprised when he told me he remembered all of our interactions and the sale from many years ago. When I asked him why he decided at that moment to buy from me and not the other twenty previous times before his reason was simple….trust. He decided, that morning, after all my other attempts, that I genuinely cared about not only his business but about him and his employees as well. Why else would I be stupid enough to keep banging my head on his desk?

Don’t count your failures as defeats. Acknowledge each as the discovery of the path that won’t carry you to your goal, whatever that goal may be. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg), eating cheeseburgers and french fries everyday for lunch is not the correct path. Your bathroom scales will help you discover that truth quickly.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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3 Responses to The failures of success

  1. A good lesson and reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

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