Failure is the Road to Success

    The story of Truett Cathy is one of the more powerful stories I have heard when it comes to failing forward. John C. Maxwell wrote a book called "Failing Forward," and he told the story of his excellent friend Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. Everyone knows this fast-food restaurant chain is one of the most popular, but the fame and popularity did not come without challenges. Truett Cathy could have blamed everyone else for his struggles and quit, but Mr. Cathy realized that failure was a part of most success stories. He understood that life was not going to be a perfect ride. So what's his story?

    In Maxwell's book, he describes Truett as a young entrepreneur who started in the second grade by buying a six-pack of coke for a quarter and selling them for a nickel apiece; you do the math. As Truett grew into a young man, he enlisted in the army, which was expected back in that era, but he still had his dreams when he was discharged in 1945. You may be able to guess what his vision was; it was to open a restaurant. I will shorten this story by skipping over the minor details and getting to the point. Truett opened a restaurant that was open 24-6 with his brother Ben. They became profitable from the first week of business, but they were about to begin a time of many struggles and setbacks. (Maxwell, 2000)

    After being open for three years, Truett's two brothers were killed in an airplane crash, one of them being his business partner. After grieving for some time, Truett began his journey alone. Two years after the incident, he opened up his second restaurant, and things were headed up until one night, he received a phone call that his second restaurant was on fire. By the time he arrived on sight, the restaurant was gone entirely, and he was without insurance. Not long after, only a few weeks, the doctors told Truett that they had found some polyps in his colon. He had two surgeries and was put on bed rest for several months for recovery. While he was lying in bed at the hospital, an idea came to him... This was when the lemonade and fried chicken sandwich idea was born. (Maxwell, 2000)
    If it weren't for all of Truett's struggles, he might not have ever thought of the Chick-fil-A idea. In 2000, Chick-fil-A became a billion-dollar business with more than 900 restaurants. Today, Chick-fil-A has around 2,500 restaurants and continues to grow. Truett Cathy is a prime example of failing forward because he never let the possible failures cross his mind and never allowed the tragedies to stop him from succeeding. Failure is ingrained in our heads to be a negative thing, but most people need to realize that you most certainly won't succeed without failures.

    Steps to Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

    1. "Realize there is one major difference between average people and achieving people"
    • "Achieving people perceive and respond to failure with strength. Average people let the failure take over and they quit."

    2. "Learn a new definition of failure"
    • "It's simple, failure is just a price we pay for success"

    3. "Remove the “you” from failure"
    • "Don't take failure personally, find new ways to succeed."

    4. "Take action and reduce your fear"
    • “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action”

    • "To Conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway."

    • "Fear Cycle: Fear-> Inaction-> Inexperience-> Inability-> Fear"

    • "Inaction = Paralysis, Procrastination, Purposelessness, and additional negative side effects are self-pity, excuses, misused energy, hopelessness"

    5. "Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility"
    • “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of our responsibilities.”

    6. "Don't let the failure from outside get inside you"
    • "Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. This is true not only of physical challenges but of emotional and intellectual ones as well… I believe that real and lasting limitations are created in our minds, NOT OUR BODIES. Expect the best in everything, remain upbeat, see solutions in everything, believe in yourself, hold onto hope."

    7. "Say goodbye to yesterday"
    • "Successful people do not dwell on past difficulties."

    • "Talk to God to let go of grudges."

    • "Problems of people's past either cause a breakdown or breakthrough."

    • "Signs you haven't gotten over the past: Comparison, Rationalization, isolation, regret, & bitterness."

    8. "Change yourself and your world changes"
    • “We can change our whole life and the attitude of people around us simply by changing ourselves”

    • "People always get ready to live instead of living"

    9. "Get over yourself and start giving yourself"
    • "Many people who struggle with chronic failure do so because they think of no one but themselves."

    • "Add value to other people's lives"

    10. "Find the benefit in every bad experience"
    • "Adversity creates resilience"

    • "Adversity develops maturity"

    • "Adversity pushes the envelope of accepted performance"

    11. "If at first, you do succeed, try something harder"
    • "The willingness to take greater risks is a major key to success"

    12. "Learn from a bad experience and make it a good experience"
    • "By taking important lessons away from the bad experience, you can make it a good experience."

    13. "Work on the weakness that weakens you"
    • "Don't get in your own way."

    • "Work on your people skills."

    14. "Understand there’s not much difference between failure and success"
    • "Be persistent regardless of failures"

    • "Find a purpose, eliminate excuses, develop incentives, cultivate determination" 

    • "Write down your goals and dreams and write down everything you would be willing to go through to achieve it."

    15. "Get up, get over it, get going"
    • "Highly successful leaders ignore conventional wisdom and take chances. Their stories inevitably include a defining moment or key decision when they took a significant risk and thereby experienced a breakthrough."

    "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up"

    -Thomas Edison

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