Colonel Sanders Failed 1009 Times Until He Became Successful

The Story of Colonel Sanders and KFC.

👋 Hi friends, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and all the best in 2021! In this week’s post, I am featuring KFCs Colonel Harland David Sanders.

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Let’s dive in, shall we…


Colonel Sanders’ story starts off dramatically. At the age of 6, Colonel lost his father, who passed away. Because of this event, it forced Colonel’s mother Margaret Ann to work long hours in order to provide for the family. The responsibility fell on Colonel to take care of his younger siblings. This isn’t the typical 6-year-old life that you hear of. But as his duty to watch over the family, this also included cooking. One year later, at 7, he was already showing great cooking techniques.

As time went by, at 10, he got his first job working on a farm. Two years later, his mom would remarry. However, his stepdad became violent and didn’t think fondly of the children. The hardship continued and by the age of 13 Sanders dropped out of school and found employment by painting horse carriages. Often not being enough, by age 15 he joined the US military in hopes of a stable career.

After some time later, at 18, he got married and conceived a son and two daughters. But sadly, his son died a short time later. This hardship weighed on the family. As a result, the marriage eventually fell apart.

Having children myself, I can tell you, it’s a parent's worst nightmare. I experienced a loss of my best friend at 16, and that affected me for a LONG time physically and emotionally. One thing that it brings out is an appreciation for the life that we’ve been given, and to not take things for granted.

Sanders spent most of his life up to this point working odd jobs here and there. He tried selling tires, insurance, steamboat pilot, farmer, and the list goes on. Having all these jobs, his reputation grew, being that he could not hold on to jobs for a long period.

Colonel Sanders - “One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.”

It was not until the older age of 40, did Sanders sell chicken dishes in a small gas station. As his reputation grew, so did the amount of customers. What started as selling a few dishes here and there ended up being a 140 seated restaurant. Over the next decade, he continued to create chicken dishes, ultimately discovering and creating his secret recipe for fried chicken!

Another setback occurred. By age 65, his restaurant lost money long enough that eventually he claimed bankruptcy. For the first time in Sanders' life, he had to apply for social security. Aged 65 years old, retired and broke is not a place or vision that Sanders dreamt about. But at this stage, he still didn’t give up. Rather, he used his first social security check for $105 and travelled the US in hopes to find a business partner. He would approach various business partners and offer his secret chicken recipe.

This period was a challenging one, if you can imagine. Living in his vehicle and surviving with very little food. When pitching his product they rejected him multiple times over, in fact 1009 times to be exact!

Eventually his product was bought and he was given the opportunity he was looking for his big break. This lucky break, or some might call it, perseverance and determination to make it work, eventually took off. Sanders had 600 franchises selling his Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). As expansion was recurring very rapidly, it became too much for Sanders to handle.

Sanders eventually sold his company for $2 Million, but remained on as a spokesperson. These would last for several years, eventually passing on at 90. In today’s times, there are 20,000 KFCs around the globe.

Colonel Sanders - “I've only had two rules: Do all you can and do it the best you can. It's the only way you ever get that feeling of accomplishing something.”


Key Takeaways:

  • Sanders failed over 1,000 times, but never, and I mean never gave up.

  • Age has nothing to do with it. You’re never too young or too old to chase your dreams.

  • Failure led to his eventual success. Failure built his character.

  • The hardships he endured in his personal life gave him strength in times of need.

  • Believe in yourself!!!


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As always, thanks so much for reading!

If you would like me to cover a particular individual or business let me know paolo@beyondthefailure.com

Cheers,

Paolo