Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others.
Next time you’re feeling down about your career failures, keep these fifty famous people in mind. Remind yourself that sometimes failure is the tuition you pay for your career success.
1.Henry Ford: While Ford is known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
2. R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started seven failed businesses before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.
35. Steven Spielberg: While today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budgets, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
36. Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller," Carrie", received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history. King now has published hundreds of books with the added distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
John Wooden: What the Obituaries Missed by Michael Lee Stallard
"Make the effort. Do your best. The score cannot make you a loser when you do that; it cannot make you a winner if you do less.” Coach John Robert Wooden
Thinking about the death of legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, I couldn't help but think of his legacy and mine.
Coach Wooden operated a meritocracy that treated every player fairly. He didn’t believe in the star system and told his players, "The star of the team is the team." Wooden benched Sidney Wicks, one of the nation's best players, for a season because he wasn’t passing to his open teammates. (The following year, a more selfless Wicks was awarded All-American honors and helped UCLA win a national championship.) No one’s position was safe if Wooden felt another player had proven he could perform better for the team’s sake. At the same time, however, he recognized that the non-starters didn’t receive the praise that starters did. So, he encouraged and affirmed them in practice, and,as he said in an interview in 1996, “I became a little closer with some of my players [who] didn’t get to play very much.”
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The World is Getting Smaller and Living in Denial by Judith Glaser
This month I had the incredible opportunity to speak in Dubai to an audience of over 450 people for the 9th HR Conference put on by Etisalat Academy, the largest single-source provider of training and development solutions in the Middle East. I spoke about how companies start to fail when leaders make themselves the center of the universe and the dynamics within the organization become all about pleasing the boss. However, when it's "WE-centric" - the company mission and the relationship with their customer become the center of the universe - all work together to achieve outrageous goals. Winning takes on a new definition - and the profits follow. The room was silent - heads were bobbing in agreement - something I will never forget.
We talked a lot about 'having a voice' - and how hierarchy and fear of authority can cause people to feel afraid to speak up. I talked about how important it is for leaders to set the tone and encourage pushback. I shared that too often 'leaders are the last to know' because people are afraid of them - and so all the observations and ideas that employees might contribute get lost behind the leader's power. When this happens a company starts to disconnect from reality.
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