What a Chocolate King Taught Me About Failure...and Success
My husband and I recently drove cross country to attend the wedding of a friend in Philadelphia.
On the way through Pennsylvania, we stopped at the town of Hershey (because who can resist a town named after one's favorite chocolate) to see what was there.
We expected --because we had heard about them in advance -- the streetlights shaped like milk chocolate Hershey's Kisses (both wrapped and unwrapped).
We expected the rollercoaster-packed amusement park and the nearby outlet mall.
We also expected the giant Hershey gift shop and the museums that paid homage to the company's delicious products.
What we didn't expect was to come away in awe of a man named Milton Hershey.
Paraphrasing the excellent guides on the Hershey trolley tour, here's his rags to riches story:
Milton Hershey was the son of a failed entrepreneur who lost the family home to his business ventures. Milton must have inherited the family's spirit because he started business after business himself -- only to fail again and again and again.
Finally one of his failures --involving a new process for caramels -- turned to success and his chocolate kingdom was born.
Mr. Hershey and his wife were unable to have children so they generously cared for a group of boys, seeing to their education and creating a better life for them. When Mrs. Hershey died, the chocolate king knew that his money --since he had no heir -- could go to good use by expanding his wife's vision of help for underprivileged children.
So he placed the majority of his fortune into a trust and created the Milton Hershey School which, to this day, provides primary and secondary education for children at no charge and sends them off to college and to bright futures.
What does this story have to do with real estate?
The last several years have been tough in this business. In fact, back in 2006, our board of Realtors had about 1,500 Realtor members. Today there are between 800 and 900 left.
When clients have lost their jobs, can't afford new homes, can't sell their existing homes because they're upside down in their mortgages, etc., it makes for a more than challenging environment for people whose careers hinge on helping facilitate the buying and selling of real estate.
You might look at this modern real estate situation as a string of failures, much like Milton Hershey's early career.
However, this man who could have simply thrown in the towel and gone to work for someone else, kept trying again and again and again. He tried until he succeeded against all odds. He created a business out of nothing. It's this kind of opportunity that real estate still offers if you have the fortitude to pick yourself up and keep trying until you fail your way into success.
Milton Hershey's success brought him untold wealth and influence. While a career in real estate can provide a good living, it probably won't match the dollars of a chocolate industrialist. But this man's greatest accomplshment was not in the tasty chocolate he created or even in the thriving company town he developed or the generations of jobs he created for people all across the globe.
His greatest gift was the enhanced lives of the children he and his foundation have helped over the years.
What does that tell a real estate professional like me?
If I focus on the people I can help instead of the money I could make, I will be a success no matter what.
Now go out there and fail successfully!
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I help good people buy and sell good homes in St. Louis' Illinois suburbs, with special emphasis on the Metro East communities of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Collinsville, Troy and surrounding areas in Madison County, Illinois.
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For more information or to search for homes, visit my sites at NancyMilton.com, 618Life.com, or GoshenRealtyGroup.com or send an email to me at Nancy@GoshenRealtyGroup.com. Text or call Nancy Milton Holtzscher, your Edwardsville Realtor, at 618-791-8007 any time.
REMAX Preferred Partners is located at One 157 Center, Edwardsville, IL 62025, 618-791-8007 (direct) 618-655-1188 (office). We're easy to find on IL-157 in Edwardsville between Pasta House Co. and Shenanigans. Each office is independently owned and operated.