The Bumblebee

Anatomically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.

- Mary Kay Ash

Tony was doing OK in sales. OK but not great. An analysis of his territory revealed several opportunities with large companies. Asked about them, Tony responded, “They’re not prospects for me. They’re much too big. I’d just be wasting my time.” Huh? What does that mean?

Tony didn’t even try. He assumed he would not be able to sell the larger companies. In his mind they were out of his league. His head trash got in the way of making the calls. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” Don’t ever assume that you can’t. What’s the worst case? You’ll fail. So what? It’s not fatal. The worst you’ll hear is No. What’s the best case? You’ll succeed!

The world is full of examples of very successful people who failed initially. Many of them failed multiple times but they didn’t give up. Like the bumblebee they didn’t know they couldn’t fly. They kept on trying.

Henry Ford failed and went broke 5 times before he founded the Ford Motor Company.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and failed in his first business before starting Microsoft.

Colonel Sander’s chicken recipe was rejected over 1,000 times before a restaurant accepted it. He was in his 60's at the time.

Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first 2 jobs. Eventually, and after many failures, he invented the light bulb.

Elvis Presley was fired after his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry. The manager told him, “You ain’t got nothing son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, was cut from his High School basketball team.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”

The list of people who succeeded despite early setbacks goes on and on. Not all of them are famous. Many are ordinary people who overcame poverty or disease or other adversities and went on to lead productive and meaningful lives. Me? I should be retired … put out to pasture. But I’m working my butt off to build a sales management coaching business. Why? Because I believe I can help and people need it. Besides I enjoy it.

So, don’t give up. Remember the bumblebee. Keep flying.

Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors sales management professionals. For more information please go to

Look for information coming soon on the Street Smart Sales Management Pilot Program. Launching online in September. Limited seating. Results guaranteed.

If you enjoyed this article I would really appreciate it if you share it with your friends in sales or sales management. Many thanks!


One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.