What do your family like to have when you treat yourselves to a takeaway? Indian, pizza, Chinese? Did you know there is a fast food chain whose founder was a school drop-out, a fired farmhand, an immature soldier, and a failed lawyer? He never let anything keep him down and achieved his dreams despite everything the world threw at him. I would start with the whole “once upon a time” thread, but this didn’t happen all that long ago. But it does have the fighting, the pitfalls, the heartbreak and the happily ever after you would expect in a fairy-tale…
Harland David Sanders was born in 1890 in Henryville, Indiana, and his first barrier was when he dropped out of school (as soon as he hit seventh grade), becoming a farmhand. That’s where he worked, bruising his young hands, until he became a teenager. At sixteen, he lied about his age so that he could enlist in the US army. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long, being honourably discharged a year later. Despite studying law during his service, his career in it was ruined due to the amount of fights he got involved in. From there, he was forced to move back in with his mother where he sold life insurance to make ends meet…until he got fired for insubordination, that is.
A string of ambitions followed, including owning a ferry boat company which he sold to fund another dream, but when that fell through, Sanders finally started listening to his friends who all raved about his chicken recipe. Their praise helped him think with positivity and come up one final attempt at success. That’s when he started selling chicken dishes at a service station; his secret combinations of herbs and spices did something magical to people’s appetites and he grew increasingly popular. So it was, that not until age 40, did it seem he finally had a full proof plan.
Chasing the dream through the states.
Reaching his 60’s, Sanders still refused to accept defeat. He travelled from town to town, from state to state, trying to sell his chicken recipe; he knew what he was aiming for, giving him a purpose for his travels. He was so confident, that he offered to sell the recipe itself for free, asking the people he pitched before to only give him a small percentage of any profits. Having seen attempts like that a thousand times before however, no one took him seriously. In fact, he was rejected 1009 times, but perseverance took him to that 1010th meeting where someone finally gave him a chance.
His recipe was branded and shared, expanding exponentially. Soon, it reached an international level and he sold his company for $2 million ($15.3 million today).
At age 90, Sanders died from pneumonia, but he died with the pleasure of knowing that his chicken recipe was in 48 counties and that his face was still the trademark logo for it all over the world. In 2013, the recipe reached 118 countries.
Can you guess what the chicken recipe is? Kentucky Fried Chicken, more commonly known as KFC! Sanders never gave up and his stubbornness paid off in the end, and there’s no reason to assume that your determination can’t win you the same result.