You may be at your lowest, but you’re not alone

Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy.
Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colonel Sanders failed at a number of careers. For over 20 years he had been cooking chicken in his restaurant-come-hotel when a new interstate roadway bypassed his town. It took away all of his business. Saunders was broke.

“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, no amount of labour, no amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it.”

Saunders started travelling and eventually found a way to make money through franchising his fried chicken recipe. Within five years Kentucky Fried Chicken had 400 stores.

I remember once when the only work I could find was delivering cooking oil to fish and chip fryers from the back of a bakkie (small truck). At first it was humiliating work. But at the time I didn’t have any other options. I had to make it work. Selling cooking oil to the general trade is a tough business, especially when your product isn’t the lowest priced.
Slowly, after making repeated visits to fish and chip and chicken fryer outlets I made a personal breakthrough. One owner bought ten 20 litre cooking oil drums from me. It lifted my spirits. I finished the day excited and ready to keep on selling the next day and beyond.

In that dark tunnel where you see no light for what seems an eternity, it’s hard to hold on to your sanity. It’s tough to keep going. But you’ve just got to knuckle down and carry on with hope that you will eventually see the light.

A tornado hit the small town of Vilonia in Arkansas some time ago. One of the small business owners lost all his tools and his construction equipment. He lost two houses in an area where 38 houses were downed. He had bought them all. Now like other small business owners he is trying to get help.

Some of the small businesses devastated in the tornado had no insurance, others were paid out insurance but it didn’t cover everything they had in their business. Small businesses were turned down by the federal emergency management agency. But they are trying and applying again.

The mayor is encouraging businesses to stay in the town and reopen. Some have already planned to reopen their businesses in June. One woman who lost almost everything said she had learnt that it was important to “just keep looking forward”.

Col Saunders was able to find “the best that there was in me”. The human will to survive is strong when you dig in and find it. If you are just starting out, you may not know if you’ve got it. If you’re an experienced professional out on the streets, you could believe you will never make it. But if you keep on keeping on your resilience will get you to the other side.

Looking back, it took me more than three years to get back on my feet at one stage in my life but I made it. No matter what your circumstances are find the best in you and keep moving forward.

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One Reply to “You may be at your lowest, but you’re not alone”

  1. It’s always encouraging to hear tales like these about other fellow sufferers who succeeded and how it’s always darkest before the dawn but the truth is, when one is down it’s very hard to look up and stay positive. It’s at times like these when one needs to be most creative and resourceful and sometimes try a new venture. Some people who did this late in life include:
    • Walt Disney.. The founder of The Walt Disney Company started out as a newspaper editor, but was apparently fired for lacking imagination.
    • Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Pisa, Andrea Bocelli worked as a defense attorney until the age of 34, when he left his job to sing full time.
    • Whoopi Goldberg put makeup on dead people. Before Whoopi’s big break in 1985, Goldberg worked at a funeral parlor applying makeup to the deceased.

    I think that if things are really that bad, the time might be right to try something new.

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