Why does everyone love a comeback story? For me, I love a comeback story when I can personally relate to the individual involved. I think that is likely why we all like them. Face it, most of us have at some point in time faced something that we have had to overcome. When we listen to the stories and think about the successes that are achieved, our minds often skirt around the circumstances that actually lead up to the big win. The hardships and setbacks we encounter, when used constructively shape us, prepare us and become the SET UPS that springboard us into a greater and more rewarding existence. By looking at the often harsh details and realities of the failure, destruction, accident and circumstances that great people have had to overcome we can start to understand that our own personal seeds of greatness might be hiding in the failures that we have allowed to place limitations on us or become ashamed of. Here are three comeback stories that I love. They each inspire me to get better in different areas of my life and help me to understand that a big part of overcoming is to not forget my failures and setbacks but to use them for fuel, inspiration and knowledge of how to get better.
#1 Walt Disney
The story of Walt Disney is inspiring to me because of the joy and happiness that he has brought to so many people around the world. Walt’s life was not always happy though. As with so many overwhelming success stories, pain, failure and suffering set the stage well ahead of his dramatic comeback.
In the fall of 1918 Walt attempted to enlist in the military. His brothers, who had become frustrated in the domineering relationship with their father, had already run away from home. Walt was rejected by the military due to his age. Undetered and wanting to leave home like his brothers, he lied to the American Red Cross and became an ambulance driver during World War I. He was 16 years old at the time.
At the age of 22, Walt’s first business venture Laugh-O-Grams failed and went bankrupt. Feeling like a failure at animation and that others did it better, he set it aside and ventured to California. He set his sites on becoming an actor in Hollywood, it never happened.
Walt’s initial success in animation with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, continued his business baptism by fire. The distributor of the series forced him out and retained all rights to the character and series along with most of Walt’s staff. His organization was again practically desimated with the exception of his oldest friend Ub Iwerks.
The lesson within the story is that the power of two like minded people working together, focused on a common goal can become an incredible juggernaut. With the help of Ub, the Mickey Mouse character was created.
Walt continued to suffer setbacks though, personal hardships, breakdowns and family tragedy. His mother died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to poor construction in a home he and his brother had built for their parents in California.
In business his animators went on strike just before World War II and in 1941 the United States Army took over the Walt Disney Studios as a repair shop and Walt again lost his staff, this time to war.
Post war aftermath, slow business and $4 Million dollars in debt, Walt continued to be fueled by his setbacks. His dream was to build a place where families could gather, build bonds, enjoy each other and have fun doing it. Unable to find financing in the current climate, he was determined to find another way.
Through hard work, vision and perseverance Walt found success in television and gained the financing required to bring his dream into reality. Despite a dismal opening day labeled as “Black Sunday” by critics due to a plumbers strike and the hot California sun melting womens heels in the freshly poured asphalt. Walt used these deficiencies to establish the high standards of cleanliness, customer service and attention to detail that the parks are still known for today.
Walt’s success seems to be clearly defined by his ability to learn, rebound and lauch off of his defeats.
#2 David Sharpe
This is a name that you likely have never heard. David Sharpe’s success is very recent and his story is still unfolding. Through perseverance, David has overcome some of the toughest circumstances the world has to offer.
Like Walt, David left home at an early age, but it wasn’t to serve his country in difficult times. Stubbornly thinking that he understood the world better than his parents, he quit school and ran away from home at the age of 16.
This eventually lead to personal struggle and hardship that few people manage to extricate themselves from. David had a child at a very young age, he has battled addiction and had to overcome homelessness and a series of setbacks, defeat, pain and problems that for quite a few years he couldn’t see his way out of.
He reached a point, a crossroads, where he understood if he didn’t reach out for help, his life would be lost to addiction.
Still living in financial hardship, working a construction job that he hated to pay the bills, he started taking accountability for his life. Having hit rock bottom and somehow finding solid ground in 2009, he began the miraculous reconstruction of his life.
Working hard teaching himself about the internet and online marketing he created a name for himself as a copy writer that could sell. This lead to an invitation to an online Marketers Mastermind session in Costa Rica being hosted by Dave Wood. Not feeling worthy, he almost turned this down but a last minute “gut check” changed his mind. It was this series of brainstorming sessions where he forged a relationship with Dave Wood and the vision of the Empower Network was born. He became a Co-Founder and launched the company in 2011
This “blog website” quickly became one of the largest blogging communities and publishing platforms on the internet. It’s ascent into the top 300-400 ranked websites in the world has driven millions of visitors to the platform to engage with content on a daily basis.
The vision to bring people together on the internet and create some of the most high-level marketing training courses in the world resulted in their company aquiring over 60,000 customers and paying out over $16 million in commissions to thousands of affiliates in its first year.
David Sharpe has used is personal story and life transformation to inspire thousands of people make similar positive changes in their world. Through doing so, he has also created a company that helps thousands of people become home based entrepreneurs and it is through the success of others that he has achieved personal financial success himself.
That’s why this is one of my favorite success stories. That and the fact that he just seems like such a personable guy that I can relate to. He tells his own story, in this marketing video for the Empower Network.
#3 Chad Jones
Leave a comment below and tell me why you think I like this story. I will give you a break from reading, I found this nice vimeo production of his story, “Always A Fire” – go ahead and hit full screen.
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