"The whole secret to a successful life is to find out what it is one's destiny to do and then do it."
- Henry Ford
On June 4th, 1886, Henry Ford smashed the walls around the door of his brick shed with an axe.
Moments before, he was about to take his invention, the self-propelled quadricycle, for a test drive. But when he was ready to bring the contraption (made from bicycle wheels, farm equipment and a doorbell) out of his workshop he discovered that it wouldn't even fit through the door.So, on the same day that he built his earliest version of the car he also invented the car garage door.Ford was a man on a mission.
Long before Simon Sinek wrote his book Start With Why, Henry Ford had found his "Why" and built an empire off of it. From the moment that Ford first saw a car, or a horseless carriage, he wanted to build one for himself.
And once that spark was lit, once Ford had his WHY, it was like his life revved up and drove him toward his goal.
He gravitated towards activities that would develop his skills he needed to build cars.
Even as a child he got a reputation for tinkering and for being a natural engineer. For example, the first time someone gave him a watch, he immediately took it apart and put it back together. He started fixing watches for others and one of his first jobs was fixing watches at Robert McGill's jewelry shop. Normally, at the time, young workers would stay working at one place as an apprentice for four years to learn a trade. But since Ford had a goal that was bigger than holding on to a job he made choices that didn't necessarily conform with how things "should" be done. So rather than stay at his first job at Flower Brothers for four years, he stayed until he felt that he had learned enough and moved on to Detroit Drydock Company where he learned how to become a machinist. At some point, he realized that he would have to get a deep education in electricity, so he got a job at Edison Illuminating Company.
After he built his first car, he immediately made changes and built another one. In 1899, the mayor of Detroit formed an automobile company and he was the chief engineer where he built a delivery wagon that sold for $1000. The company dissolved because they lost so much money. But that failure didn't deter Ford, who went on to building racing cars. The first race car that he built, he personally drove in a race held in Grosse Pointe, MI, where he won $1,000. Next he got $100,000 from Tom Cooper, a racing cyclist, to build two race cars. They were called the Arrow and the 999. The 999 won another race on October 25, 1902 and set the world record for the mile in one minute and one second. Imagine that! a world record at 60 miles per hour. After all the publicity that the race cars brought, he was ready to start his own business. The Ford Motor Company.
Ford made choices about where he would live, who he spent time with, how he did his job, based on his passion for building cars. All along the way he seemed to surround himself with people who supported him and helped him along his journey. Henry Ford knew what his purpose (destiny) was. In todays leadership lingo he knew his "why". His passion to make the inexpensive automobile for the working class was his why and propelled Ford Motors into what it is today.
What's your Why?
As much as I enjoy reading about how successful entrepreneurs have discovered their destiny, my passion, my why is helping people like you cut through the clutter and chaos of life and zero in on you true purpose.
Contact me at email@example.com to schedule a free 30 one-on-one coaching session.