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“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. it’s yours.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Are you feeling like a failure? Excellent, quit. Stop what you are doing, simply quit. From one complete failure to another, it’s best to stop trying. It will save you years of frustration, embarrassment, and stress. If you are not a success and you have hit that old preverbal wall, quit.
I’ve failed so many times in my life that if I were to simply focus on my failures, I’d get nothing else done. About 15 years ago, I had a great idea. I would buy an existing sub-standard insurance agency; I would relocate it to an old service station, fix up the service bays and allow area adjusters to use this area for free.
State Farm and Farm Bureau already had these “adjustment shops” and giving Independent Insurance Carriers the opportunity to use this for free seemed like a good idea. We would benefit from the increased traffic and get referrals for our other main company, Thompson Insurance.
I bought the agency, the building, hired an ex-golf pro to run it and do our marketing. After 3 years, 3 managers, and many sleepless nights, I sold the agency for a profit of $10,000. I say profit because on paper, that’s what it looked like I made. However, figuring opportunity cost, I lost my ass. It was another 3 years of school learning lessons that I didn’t take in college.
Fast forward another 3 years, this time it was technology. Our agency had been one of the first in the nation to offer full-blown lending using the new “insurance carrier owned banks”. We were now poised to bring in another leader in the technology field and begin cross selling our commercial insurance clients web sites and technology services.
My partner and I started out of the gate quickly. Picking up our existing clients tech work promising the same level of service we offered on the insurance side. After 2 years, I limped out of that company barely keeping a friendship in tact with the other partner, but again, learning very valuable lessons about what not to do in business. That $100,000 lesson was that we needed to focus on one thing, in our world; it ended up being insurance that served as our most profitable product and service.
It was around the time of the technology company’s demise that I honestly thought about quitting. I was tired, I had steered my ship almost off the side of the earth and I was struggling to understand the impact of these poor financial decisions.
I later lost two great producers due to my over zealous ego, made a $150,000 hiring mistake that almost put me out of business, and then retrenched. Took a long step back, began slowing down and starting building the company that I co-own today.
The lessons I’ve learned have been very painful and expensive, but without these failures, we would not have the amazing company that we have today. Today, I embrace mistakes that my staff make knowing that like me, make that mistake once and there is a high probability that you won’t make it again.
The other day one of my team members made a $600.00 mistake. He said, “Damn it, I’m better than that…I want to quit”. I said, “you can’t quit now, I’d lose my $600.00 investment”. The way I look at it, that mistake just saved our company thousands of dollars in a much larger mistake of the same type. I’ll take those $600.00 mistakes in exchange for the saving of the much larger mistake any day.
Lance Armstrong once said, ““Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” An ironic quote from a man that just quit defending his “drug free” status. Although there are times in life where it makes sense to quit ala our friend Lance. Quitting 97.987% of the time will not allow you to learn the valuable lessons that you’ll need in later seasons of life.
Quit today, no way!
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