“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”― Winston S. Churchill
The pandemic has delivered a gut punch to business owners. Many businesses have permanently closed and many are still struggling to survive. A lot of people have been laid off from their work and have faced a professional nightmare during this Pandemic. Newly graduated students are witnessing their dream die. It’s a tough situation for everybody out there. But you know what? Everything is going to be okay.
Failures and tragedies like these are normal and acceptable part of any dream. I would like to share with you the story of a guy named Truett, which I read in a book called “Failing forward: How to make the most of your mistakes”. Truett was a born entrepreneur. When he was in second grade he had the ability to buy a pack of 6 coke bottles and sell them to people for 20% profit. When the weather turned cold and the drinks sales dropped, he sold magazines. Then when he was eleven, he started helping a neighbor with his paper route and by the age of twelve, he had his own route. After that Truett went to military and later when he came back he wanted to start his own restaurant with one of his brothers, Ben.
After learning a little about the business, they pooled in some money together, found a site, built a restaurant, and named it as Dwarf Grill. The restaurant was open six days a week and operated 24 hours a day. Though it required an incredible amount of work, it was profitable from the first week.
Just in three years after opening the restaurant, Truett’s two brothers died on a plane crash on their way to Tennessee. Losing a business partner was tough; losing both brothers was horrible for Truett. He was devastated but he had to get over the emotional trauma and manage the business alone. A year later, he paid Ben’s wife for her share in the business.
He opened a second restaurant, a year after that. By then things were going pretty well in the business. Then one night he got a phone call that there was fire in his second restaurant location. He rushed to save the restaurant, but he was too late, by the time he arrived, fire had totally destroyed the restaurant. The worst thing was he had not insured his restaurant.
Few weeks later, Truett faced another adversity. He discovered that he had polyps in his colon and he needed to get a surgery done to get it removed. So instead of rebuilding the restaurant that was destroyed, he got into a surgery. One operation turned into two and he had to stay in the hospital bed for several months.
Normal people would’ve been distraught and broken down over what had happened. But Truett Cathy came up with a million dollar idea while he was recovering. He wondered what would happen if he took chicken breast, seasoned and fried it just right, and put it on a bun with the right condiments? The end product became the Chick-fil-A Sandwich and the start of one of the largest privately owned restaurant chains in the world.
All the setbacks and adversities that Truett faced didn’t stop him from fully getting back in his game. Today Truett is recognized for inventing the chicken sandwich in the fast-food industry. Chick-fil-A operates more than nine hundred restaurants in the US. In the year 2000, it became a billion dollar company. This would have never happened if Truett had not experienced the setbacks he did, maintained his perspective, and realized that a few negative experiences don’t make for failure.
So stop second guessing and heaping blame and guilt on yourself when you face adversities. I know how failure feels firsthand. I know it’s difficult. The shame, the embarrassment, the fear and the sleepless nights spent doubting your capabilities but we have to recover and rebound from such life shattering experiences to rediscover joy. Human’s fail. Businesses Fail. It’s part of the process to a successful dream. Just stay strong and stand tall!