Have you ever heard of a guy named Colonel Sanders? Of course you have. How did Colonel Sanders become such an unbelievable success? Was it because he was born wealthy? Was his family rich? Did they send him to a top university like Harvard? Maybe he was successful because he started his business when he was really young. Are any of these true?
The answer is no. Colonel Sanders didn't begin to fulfill his dream until he was 65 years old! What drove him to finally take action? He was broke and alone. He got his first social security cheque for $105, and he got mad but instead of blaming society or just writing congress a nasty note, he started asking himself, "What could I do that would be valuable for other people? What could I give back?" He started thinking about what he had that was valuable to others.
His first answer was, "Well, I have this chicken, recipe, everyone seems to love! What if I sold my chicken recipe to restaurants? Could I make money doing that?" Then he immediately thought, "That's ridiculous. Selling my recipe won't even pay the rent." And he got a new idea: "What if I not only sold them my recipe but also showed them how to cook the chicken properly? What if the chicken was so good that it increased their business? If more people come to see them and they make more chicken sales, maybe they will give me a percentage of those additional sales."
Many people have great ideas. But Colonel Sander was different. He was a man who didn't just think of great things to do. He put them into action. He went and started knocking on doors, telling each restaurant owner his story: "I have a great chicken recipe, and I think if you use it, it'll increase your sales. And I'd like to get a percentage of that increase."
Well, many people laughed in his face. They said, "Look, old man, get out of here. What are you wearing that stupid white suit for?" Did Colonel Sanders give up? Absolutely not. He had the #1 key to success; I call it personal power. Personal power means being persistence in taking action: Every time you do something, you learn from it, and you find a way to do it better next time. Colonel Sanders certainly used his personal power! Instead of feeling bad about the last restaurant that had rejected his idea, he immediately start focusing on how to tell his story more effectively and get better results from the next restaurant.
How many times do you think Colonel Sanders heard no before getting the answer he wanted? He was refused 1,009 times before he heard his first yes. His spent two years driving across America in his old, beat-up car, sleeping in the back seat in his rumpled white suit, getting up each day eager to share his idea with someone new. Often, the only food he had was a quick bite of the samples he was preparing for perspective buyers. How many people do you think would have gone for 1,009 no's - two years of no's! - and kept on going? Very few. That's why there is only one Colonel Sanders. I think most people wouldn't get passed twenty no's, much less a hundred or a thousand! Yet this is sometimes what it takes to succeed.
If you look at any of the most successful people in history, you will found this common thread: They would not be denied. They would not accept no. They would not allow anything to stop them from making their vision, their goal, a reality. Did you know that Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating "The Happiest Place on Earth"? All the banks thought he was crazy. He wasn't crazy; he was a visionary and, more important, he was committed to making that vision a reality. Today, millions of people have shared in "the joy of Disney", a world like no other, a world launched by the decision of one man.