by Dave Kahle
Remember John Delorean? He was the superstar General Motors executive who started the Delorean Motor Company. When the company began to falter, he was arrested and charged with complicity in a drug deal that some speculated was an attempt to raise money to prop up the company.
All of this was big news in Detroit, where I was living at the time. One particularly insightful article in the Detroit News theorized that he had been supremely successful his whole life, and thus never learned to deal with failure. His development was stunted by a lack of failure in his life. Faced with the pending failure of his auto company, he had nothing to lean upon and lost his moral compass. A long string of successes had not developed his character.
Perhaps. There is one thing for certain, regardless of the individual circumstances for Mr. DeLorean. If we choose to, we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. Within every failure there is the seed of a lesson well learned, of a solid character trait emerging. It is our failures that contribute most intensely to our development.
To this day, I can recall with vivid detail the events of my most humiliating failure as a sales person. It was early in my career, about three decades ago, and I had made the mistake of speaking badly about the competition to a customer. The customer was a personal friend of the competitive sales person and was personally affronted by my comment. The dressing down that I received at the hands of that customer remains painfully with me today. I don’t believe that I have ever made that mistake since. Read more