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Sharing My Failures (and Successes?)

Hat tip to McGee’s Musings where I found the failure video. Thanks for inspiring this post!

Rarely do I meet a successful person that hasn’t had some disastrous failures behind them. Over the years, I’ve learned to measure my success differently than most. I’m successful because I’ve got 2 fantastic children who I’m incredibly proud of and who are already showing potential well beyond my achievements at half my age.

Looking back at my life, though, I believe my success has come because of my failures – not despite them. I’ve got a pretty colorful history and made many bad decisions, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I stopped concentrating and trying to improve what I was bad at and started to figure out what I was great at. I began surrounding myself with folks who judged me for and helped me fine-tune my skills rather than criticize my weaknesses.

In my wake, I’ve was transferred from a high school, busted in rank in the US Navy, had a divorce, started a couple of companies, lost a home and relocated my kids (twice). On the other hand, I held honors-level grades in college, was a decorated and honorably discharged Gulf War Vet, was responsible for growing many successful businesses, had a hand in selling a company internationally, and have had a secure home as a single father with 2 honest and hard-working children.

I’m now fortunate enough to help run a growing company that I helped to build the original business plans for. I’m still not wealthy, nor do I care about being so. My family still lives in an apartment. Any money that I have left over each payday goes to my son’s tuition or is reinvested in new ventures. As long as I have a happy family and a roof over my head, I’m one happy guy!

If you were to ask me the single largest events that changed my life, I have two:

  1. My divorce. I was a loving father but never did I show it until I was faced with the possibility of losing my children. My divorce put my entire life into perspective.
  2. My resignation from a company. After building up revenues at a local company that were off the chart, I was placed under new management that thought I was a threat and I was ushered out the door. I came home, sat on the couch, and called friend Darren Gray and Pat Coyle.

    Pat put me to work immediately and I’ve never looked back. I also changed my attitude about myself and my worth to a business. I was never an employee again, and continue to work with and for companies that would enrich my life while I worked to enrich theirs.

My advice to any young person is that the sooner you figure out what your strengths are and how to avoid positions or opportunities that don’t capitalize on them, the sooner you’ll find happiness. With happiness comes success.

7 Comments

  1. 1

    You forgot to mention you are great at inspiring others. This, in my eyes, is a fabulous wealth, because no one can take it away from you in a robbery, no desaster can melt it down or pop it like a bubble…

    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. 3

    Excellent post,

    I remember vividly as a young person being told I can do anything in life that I put my mind to. And while everyone around me was positive and encouraging; no one was able to help guide me and give me direction on how to turn my strengths into marketable skills and how to avoid positions of weakness.

    As a youngster; I was an introvert and to this day I find networking and making strategic relationships for the sake of my career a challenge.

    Looking back at my life; I don’t think I’ve had many resounding failures because I’ve never taken any big chances that might result in huge successes.

    Doug, thanks for giving me much to think about.

  3. 5

    Doug,

    Since I first met you, you’ve served as an inspiration to me to always and first be unapologetically ME. I’m sure there are many that would second me on that.

    And, an evening early, thank you for your service to our country!

  4. 7

    It’s interesting that you discovered via “trial by fire” that capitalizing on one’s strength is at least one of the keys to happiness.

    Scientists have come to a similar conclusion. You can find a series of videos and articles that delve into this notion of “happiness” here.

    Cheers!

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