By Gino Blefari
This week I was in Washington, D.C. to help celebrate the launch of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty. For those who have never been, Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city steeped in American history; you practically feel like a Founding Father walking the cobblestone streets. It’s also the place where you’ll find one extraordinary 132-room, 35-bathroom, six-story home, designed in the neoclassical style and painted white. (Once a real estate agent, always a real estate agent, right?) Inside this white house, some of the country’s—and world’s—greatest leaders lived and prospered, changing the course of history through their actions and words.
One of its most inspirational residents was arguably Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president. Most people know Lincoln for his incredible triumphs for civil rights and basic freedom but did you know that these accomplishments only arrived after years of failure and rejection? Observe:
1832 – Defeated for legislature
1838 – Defeated for Speaker
1843 – Defeated for nomination for Congress
1849 – Rejected for Land Officer
1854 – Defeated for Senate
1856 – Defeated for nomination for Vice President
1858 – Again defeated for Senate
1860 – Elected President
Of course, history paints Lincoln as the prototypical American success story: humble, stoic and accomplished. But could you imagine how the course of history would’ve changed if Lincoln hadn’t persevered through decades of personal defeat? As he once famously said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
So here’s the message: Sometimes facing defeat—losing a deal, making the wrong decision, struggling in your business, stumbling with a client—is ok. It is most often in these missteps that we find the determination to succeed, and it’s always because we believe in our cause, in our business, in our employees so much that we know if we just keep on moving forward, there’s no way we can possibly fail.