Picture this, you’re a college grad with a degree in management and marketing, eager to open your own business and take on the world.
Now, picture having these qualifications but instead cooking chicken at a fast food restaurant.
Doesn’t sound like the most glorious road to success, does it?
However, your circumstances don’t determine your success.
Your success is determined by whether you possess some very important qualities.
Two of these qualities are humility and grit.
My cousin, Matt Albrecht, has them both. That’s why he’s only 29 years old and the owner/operator of his own Chick-fil-A franchise.
When Matt graduated college, he immediately started looking for business opportunities. He considered several options, including opening a gym, but felt in his gut that these first ventures weren’t for him.
It wasn’t until one day at Church when Matt finally felt his calling.
During service, Matt’s pastor talked about running a business with integrity that also honors the Lord. At the end of the sermon, his pastor referred to examples of extremely successful businesses run by devout Christians, specifically naming Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A.
This last comment spoke to Matt. After the service, he and his future wife, Michelle, got back to her house and immediately started researching the Chik-fil-A business model. As Matt and I talked, he told me “I knew right then and there that I wanted to own a Chick-fil-A.”
Without exactly knowing how to start, Matt did the best thing he knew, he got a job at a local franchise. He started as a team member where he was put in roles in both the front and back of the business, learning the operations.
Matt described what it was like having a college degree and starting at the bottom of the ranks at a Chick-fil-A saying, “It was crazy. Every day I would question what I was doing. Here I was a college grad with chicken juice in my eyes.” But Matt kept his eye on the prize, the one without the chicken juice, and worked every day with enthusiasm and humility.
Talk about starting from the bottom.
When you start working somewhere new, chances are that you’ll also be at the bottom of the pack.
Because you’re new, you need to be humble.
No one likes taking orders from someone else, especially if you’re more qualified.
However, those that can drop their ego and take advice and criticism will advance quickest.
Ask plenty of questions and pay attention to the answers.
At some point, we will all be new at something. Be humble and make it clear that you’re passionate and excited to learn.
This will take you far.
Not only did Matt start out at the bottom, he worked for almost 5 years before finally opening his own franchise.
Imagine what that was like for him while his friends all worked in their “big boy” jobs.
Shortly after joining Chick-Fil-A, Matt proposed to Michelle. Then, around a year after they got married, they had their first child.
These were challenging times and they had to make many sacrifices in order to start their family without a substantial income.
During their engagement, Matt took a second job to save up for their honeymoon.
When they had their first child, they sold one of their cars and shared the other so that Michelle could stay home.
It would have been easy for Matt to give up his dream considering the challenges of balancing finances and starting a family.
But he put his head down and pushed forward. Matt had grit.
He knew his vision and was going to do everything in his power to make it come true.
As our conversation continued, he proved this by saying, “JM, I was determined to learn everything I could about how that company runs. I wanted to know the front of the business, the back of the business, everything. I wanted to learn every position they had, even if it meant cleaning the toilets.”
And learn he did!
Matt learned so much that he even made the decision to move locations to see how different leaders ran their businesses.
In Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk with over 12 million views, she notes that after years of studying both children and adults in all sorts of challenging situations, the one trait that determined who would be successful wasn’t talent or IQ, it was grit.
As Duckworth continued, she elaborates saying “grit is having passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking to your future. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.”
Duckworth must know the One Brick A Day philosophy!
At the end of the day, success isn’t about being talented, it’s about being able to persevere.
It’s about being able to put your head down, grind it out, and bounce back from failures.
THE RESULTS OF HUMILITY AND GRIT
After 3.5 years of working, Matt finally felt that he learned enough to put in his application to open a franchise.
This wasn’t an easy feat though. The application process was long and he was competing with over 40,000 other people who put applications in each year to open their own Chick-fil-A franchise. To make matters worse, only about 100 get selected.
However, Matt’s humility and grit paid off.
11 months after applying, Matt got accepted to be an operator of his own franchise on his very first try.
Reflecting on his experience, Matt said it was tough, but worth every second. He told me how Chick-fil-A is a great company to work with because they develop their employees into leaders, in both business and life.
Matt has now been in business almost a year and is loving it. Every day he gets to help young adults learn leadership while also running his own company.
At the end of our talk, he told me his success came from “God’s leading and my drive to achieve my dream.” I would certainly agree with this. Let’s also add his humility and grit.
If you want to achieve real success in life, you need to be willing to drop your ego and push through the hard times.
It’s not the sexiest advice, but it’s the truth.
If you want to ask Matt questions about his story, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll get you connected. If you live in the Arlington area of Texas and are interested in employment check this out.