On September 9, 1890 young David was born. He would become the oldest of three children. His family was poor in the small town of Henryville, Indiana. His father struggled to run their 80 acre farm and after a bad fall broke his leg, he was forced to work as a butcher in Henryville. David’s mother stayed at home with the children. One day just before David’s 6th birthday, his father came home with a high fever and before they could seek help, died that afternoon. This forced the family into worse circumstances. His mother had to go to work and 6 year old David was forced to care for his younger brother and sister.
The subsequent years didn’t seem to get much better. At the age of 18, David was married and shortly after had a baby on the way. David was forced to work jobs that he really didn’t like to make ends meet. He worked at many different jobs from painting horse carriages to blacksmith helper to cleaning out ash pans on locomotives and even insurance sales. Because of his dislike of this work, he found it hard to find success let alone hold a steady job. His young bride left him and took the baby. David was so distraught he contemplated suicide. Life had been very tough.
In 1930 at the age of 40, David was managing a small gas station in Corbin, KY. He finally found his passion as a cook and began selling food from the station. His country ham and biscuits were well known. But it was his fried chicken where he would find his true success. He bought a restaurant across the street connected to a motel. People traveled from all around to buy his chicken. It became so famous he was named a Colonel by the governor of Kentucky in 1935 and began going by his first name Harland or as everyone else called him Colonel Sanders.
It was his secret recipe and his pressure fryer speeding up the cooking process 8 times faster that made him go on the road and have others to sell his chicken. He got paid a nickel a piece and became very wealthy. He sold his “finger lickin’ good” franchise, Kentucky Fried Chicken, in 1964 at the age of 74 for $2 million, which in today’s money would be approximately $15.95 million. He remained an ambassador to the brand which to this day still bears his likeness.
Despite his poor upbringing and poverty Harland David Sanders died a very wealthy man on December 16, 1980 of leukemia at age 90. He did not live to see his creation sell to PepsiCo in 1986 for $840 million dollars and worth billions today. Colonel Sanders is one of the most famous and recognizable icons in American history. Never giving up on his dreams despite his failures. What are you willing to do to achieve your dreams?
““While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”—Art E Berg
Image by tiverylucky at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 2, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, employee benefit specialist, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 30 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.