Soap that Floats

In the late 1800s William Proctor and James Gamble began a company that manufactured and imported candles and soap. By 1858–1859, sales reached $1 million. By that point, about 80 employees worked for Procter & Gamble. Before the dawn of electricity, candles made Proctor & Gamble a burgeoning company. However, when Thomas Edison created the light bulb, this fledgling company had to rethink its premise.

It was in the laboratory of a soap maker who left his machine on during the night that Ivory Soap was accidentally discovered. A soap that floated was a great surprise, because in those days a large majority of people still bathed in the river. So soap that floats was the perfect way for Proctor & Gamble to get back on the industry’s map. From there, came Crisco, Tide, safety razors, and the company exploded into prosperity.

The interesting fact about this story is that neither Proctor nor Gamble was set off course by the dawn of the light bulb. Candles would be used for emergencies and beauty, but not as an essential item for life, so a vast majority of the company’s profit had to be changed before the novice ship sank into financial despair. (Wikipedia)

How many times in your life have you been met by a monumental game changer, and decided you just didn’t have the moxie to overcome?

I know in my life one example comes at a time of great disaster in Nashville. When the flood of 2010 happened, it was on the day of my book launching for “Your Gay Friend’s Guide to Understanding Men.” After I rescheduled the launch, most people scoffed at my desire to sell anything when people were suffering all around me. I hunkered down, prayed, and asked God for advice.

I simply laid low for a while and wondered what exactly the month’s events had to teach me. In the long run I ended up letting go of my publisher and ties with one agency to start a new writing platform that became more of a passion than a proposal. The passion I describe is The Finding Authentic You blog and the business of helping people finding their authentic purpose in life.

One of the worst hit business in the Nashville flood was Opry Mills, with up to 10 feet of murky water, closing the 1.2 million-square-foot mall for nearly two years. Before the flood, the mall averaged $279 million in annual sales and employed roughly 3,000 people. An estimated $200 million in repairs were made before the mall reopened in March 2012. Also, hit hard in the flood was the Titan’s football field, the Schermerhorn Concert Hall, and the Opryland Hotel, which eventually sued the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2012, saying it sustained $250 million in damage after its Opryland Resort & Convention Center and Grand Ole Opry House were flooded. The hotel evacuated 1,500 guests to a local high school as the Cumberland River swelled in May 2010 and was closed for about seven months for renovations. In 2013, a U.S. district judge dismissed three lawsuits that accused the Corps and weather service of negligence during the disaster. Gaylord lost its appeal of the decision.

None of us can say that life has been easy forward moving toward a path of success since the flood. Life brings with it challenges for everyone. It is how you meet these challenges that govern whether you will be a success or someone who falls down and never gets up.

I guarantee you that there have been times I have fallen and not wanted to get up. But after a while of nursing my wounds and regrouping, there has always been a way to challenge myself to go forward. I have remade myself and my business several times in these past 30 years, only to find more prosperity than I could have imagined. If I hadn’t changed with the time, I wouldn’t be where I am today with my business. My challenges have turned into my successes. I just had to believe in the process of “what is in mind, I will receive in kind!”

Proctor and Gamble refused to give up and so should you in any situation. Nashville has reached past its financial goals since the flood, as shown by the 300% growth in jobs.

Hardship often is a catalyst for great change, especially financially. Take the opportunities you have today to create a better future, using the tools you have learned from the many struggles you have encountered in your life. Most successful people have failed many times before they have reached the top of their financial gain.

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