Everybody, at some point in their lives, has experienced failure. From not getting an interview to our dream job to getting a low grade for a test we worked really hard at, failure affects us all at some point, in one way or another.
Some people will dwell on these failures and think they’re not good enough for future projects, but the key is to keep on getting up and to keep on trying.
Every so often I’m going to post a ‘Success Story,’ a story based on real life people, their failures and their big successes. Today’s Success Story is about Simon Cowell. I bet you’re thinking it’s going to be a typical story about how he got bad grades in school but still ended up being one of the richest celebrities in the world. It’s not. Did you know he declared bankruptcy at age 32 and had to move back in with his parents? How many of you reading this are under the age of 32 and already thinking you’ve failed at life? Maybe this story will help you believe that success can happen to anyone. You just have to have a dream and make it happen.
Simon Cowell was just like any other young boy at school. He hated it and rebelled against it very much, leaving at 16. He left with a couple of qualifications and then went on to multiple menial jobs, including working as a runner. His first job in the music industry was, believe it or not, as a worker in the mail room of EMI Music Publishing. The saying, “everybody has to start somewhere,” applies very much so to Simon’s career.
In the early 1980s, Simon left EMI to form E&S Music with his former boss. The company didn’t take too well though and by 1983, Simon had left to form another business, Fanfare Records, selling exercise videos and music from acts such as Rondo Vaneziano. Simon had his first hit song with none other than Sinitta with “So Mucho.” I bet you’re thinking he’s made it now, right? Well, no. The company went under and nearly became bankrupt at the end 1989.
At the age of 32, Simon had £5.26 to his name. He had lost everything and was completely broke. Using his last £5.26, he paid for a taxi fare to his parents’ house, where he then had to live after losing his home.
Rather than giving up hope and accepting his failures, Simon got up and carried on. He pushed harder and harder for what he wanted and what he truly knew he was good at – finding talent.
He found a job with BMG and set up S Records. He restarted his career in the music industry and created novelty records with acts like Zig and Zag and Power Rangers. He made his first million when he persuaded Robson Green and Jerome Flynn to record the song ‘Unchained Melody.’ The track stayed at number one in the UK charts for 7 weeks.
In 2001, Simon was chosen to be a judge on Pop Idol where he made his first television appearance and signed two great acts, Will Young and Gareth Gates. And let’s be honest, the rest is history! He then went on to creating and starring in shows like American Idol, The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. His net worth is now over £300 million and he’s one of the richest celebrities in the world.
Take what you will from this story but I think it’s definitely safe to say that you should never give up hope, no matter how many times you get knocked down.