Mental Resilience and Howard Schultz

Born in 1953, Howard Schultz is the famous American entrepreneur behind the wildly successful coffee company, Starbucks.
However, his early life, like many other famous people who failed at first, started off in extreme poverty, growing up in Canarsie Bay, part of the New York City Housing Projects. In 1975, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Northern Michigan University, which he attended on a sports scholarship.
After graduation, Schultz headed to Xerox Corporation and was quickly promoted to a sales representative. After Xerox, in 1979, at the age of 24, he headed to a Swedish coffee maker called Hammerplast as the general manager of this small company comprising just 20 employees.
However, the company’s client, Starbucks, led him to the next leg of his journey in life.
In 1982, at the age of 29, after being so impressed with the company, he joined Starbucks as their Director of Marketing. Then just one year later, in 1983, after a trip to Italy, Schultz, realised the prevalence of the coffee culture there and the country’s huge number of coffee bars. He convinced the owners of Starbucks to roll out the concept across the company’s stores.
Previously, they just sold coffee beans and not actual coffee drinks. While the owners resisted at first, he was persistent and was allowed to open a coffee shop in one of the new stores in Seattle, which debuted in 1984.
It was an instant success. But the owners didn’t want to continue with the concept. They didn’t want Starbucks to get too big. In 1985, Schultz left Starbucks to open his own coffee bar, naming it Il Giornale, Italian for ‘The Newspaper.’
However, the story clearly didn’t end there. After two years, Schultz had achieved great success with his coffee shop, but he was thinking even bigger. He proposed buying the Starbucks company, which at the time carried a hefty price tag, so he needed help with the transaction.
Attempting to raise the capital to purchase the company, Schultz famously stated that he was turned down by 217 of the 242 investors he initially talked to. He said, “You must have a tremendous belief in what you’re doing and persevere.”
Rejected but not defeated
217 rejections for funding! Now that’s what you call facing rejection. But Howard had a strong belief in himself and in his potential business. This belief kept him going despite the huge number of rejections from potential investors. Eventually, persistence and hard work paid off and the rest is history.
Belief and perseverance
These are two very important words for success. Belief in what you are doing and the perseverance to keep going when you want to give up are two of the keys to Mental resilience. You simply must believe in yourself and in what you are trying to achieve. If you don’t then down the line you will give up.
Belief is the fuel in the engine, without belief you will run out of fuel. There are thousands of examples where people succeeded against all the odds because of their deeply ingrained belief that they could do it.
I had to believe that I could succeed as a speaker long before I succeeded. I was painting and decorating and dreaming of doing what I am now doing. However, it took 10 years of pain and frustration to finally achieve my dreams.
Anything worthwhile takes time and energy
It didn’t come easy, but I truly believe that anything worthwhile takes time and effort. If it comes easily then it usually isn’t worthwhile. There were hundreds of times when I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I would get down from time to time but I kept bouncing back.
I was speaking free of charge for anyone who would listen to me and as I did so I gained experience and fine-tuned my craft. Some of my talks weren’t well received and that knocked my confidence, but my deep-seated self-belief kept me going.
It takes time and effort to play an instrument professionally. It takes time and effort to become an F1 driver or professional football player. It takes time and effort to qualify as a surgeon.
If you give up when it gets tough, then you will never achieve anything significant in your life but if you keep bouncing back dusting yourself off and getting straight back on that horse then after some time you will achieve something significant, and your life will be richer for it.
I have just been looking at the feedback from Gibraltar and it is brilliant. I just want to thank Sam Buxton the CEO of Damex for engaging my services. I have delivered 3 Masterclasses in my programme to his staff and will be delivering the 4th one at the end of June during the Damex Pro League.
This is a tournament organised by Sam to bring the best professional players from Spain to Gibraltar for a week of tournament basketball. This will be very exciting as Spain is one of the top countries in the world for Basketball. Sam is an ex-professional basketball player, and he will be playing for one of the teams in this tournament.
Thoughts for the week 

  1. How is your self-belief?
  2. Do you keep going when the going gets tough?
  3. This week, think about the 217 rejections Howard experienced, why didn’t he give up?
  4. What are you going through right now which is extremely difficult?
  5. If you truly believe in this, don’t give up, put your gloves on and fight for it. 

Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.
Warm regards


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